CAIRO: A military officer has possibly been kidnapped by militants in North Sinai, reported News 24 Sinai, a Facebook page dedicated to covering news of the peninsula.
Until the time of writing, no official military or security bodies have spoken about the incident.
The Facebook page claimed in a Saturday post that the kidnapping was three days ago. “[F]our militants stopped an armed forces officer and abducted him near Galbana district in Ismailia governorate, Western North Sinai…no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping or it details so far,” read the post.
The page also claimed that an intensive security campaign taking place in the peninsula is due to search for the abducted officer.
The Facebook page for Umm el-Donia Newspaper ,which routinely posts anti-government posts as well as images of the four-finger Rabaa salute, posted the same abduction information with the name of the officer as Mahmoud Saad. The page said that the officer’s Facebook account was hacked by “Sinai fighters.”
The paper also said the kidnappers reposted pictures Saad had hidden from the public view.
“Now officer Mahmoud Saad and his account are under the fighters’ control,” added the page.
The logo of the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt el-Maqdis, which has recently self-proclaimed itself as Wilayat Sinai (The State of Sinai,) was published on the allegedly hacked Facebook page with a picture of a beheaded man covered with blood.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged its allegiance to the militant group ISIS in November 2014. It has escalated its attacks against the military and security forces in the northern part of the peninsula since the ouster of the President Mohamed Morsi. The last of these attacks was on Jan. 29 with at least 40 deaths from soldiers and civilians.
The soldier’s Facebook account also posted pictures of members of the Sinai-based militant group training with machine guns and RPGs. The first post by the militant group was around 4 a.m. on Saturday. By Saturday evening at 5 p.m., the page had been deactivated.
In his last post, on Dec. 27, 2014, Saad complained that he would be moved to serve in another area in the Sinai. It appears from an old post on his account that he graduated from military college as a specialist officer on November 12, 2013.
Last month, ABM has abducted a police officer who worked in the Port Security section that administers the Rafah border crossing, and later released a video of his kidnapping and execution with shots to the head.
In the same ISIS style of execution, the Sinai militant group also released videos of beheadings of captured Bedouins and Sinai residents, whom the group allegedly said collaborated with Israel and gave information about the group to the army.
The military has escalated its moves against extremists in North Sinai with establishing a buffer zone along the Rafah-Gaza borderlines in search for hidden smuggling tunnels. The armed forces have announced hundreds of hundreds of extremists were killed and arrested amid the campaign.