Egypt On High Alert in Sinai

September 20, 2012  

Egyptian security services announced a state of high alert in Sinai on Wednesday evening, after receiving information about possible attacks on officers in the peninsula, security officials told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Egyptian intelligence warned that “unprecedented attacks” were planned by jihadist groups against security headquarters in north Sinai over the next 48 hours, a security officer told Ma’an.

The intelligence service learned of plans to attack targets in north Sinai after interrogating jihadi activists detained during a crackdown on Sheikh Zuweid and searching computers seized in raids on the city, the report said.

Egyptian security forces dispatched eight armored tanks to north Sinai from Suez on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a military leader of a Jihad group was shot dead in Sinai, security officials said, raising fears of an escalation of violence in the peninsula.

Security officers told Ma’an that Suleiman Ihmeidan was killed by Bedouins from his own clan as revenge for the killing of a sheikh earlier this year.

Ihmeidan had allegedly killed Bedouin clan leader Sheikh Khalaf al-Manbai during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, security officials said.

On Sunday, an Egyptian soldier was killed during clashes with armed Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula.

The soldier died of his wounds after troops and security forces exchanged fire with the armed Muslims in North Sinai, close to the border with Gaza.

The soldier, Alaa Mohammed Eid, was shot in the stomach and succumbed to his injuries after being transferred to a Cairo hospital. The clashes were sparked after a security building in the Sinai was attacked, and three policemen were wounded in separate fighting in the area, security officials said.

The fighting erupted as armed men belonging to Islamic groups attacked the North Sinai security headquarters in the town of Al-Arish at dawn using rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles.

Egyptian security forces launched a campaign to crush terrorists in the restive Sinai, after an attack on an army outpost killed 16 soldiers on August 5.

Sunday’s incident occurred after on Friday, armed Bedouin broke through the fence of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeepers’ compound and set fire to an observation tower. In the ensuing clashes, two Colombians and an Egyptian were injured.

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