North Sinai security foils suicide attacks
Smoke rises after a house was blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip - REUTERS

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces foiled the attempt of two suicide bombers to storm the Sheikh Zuwayed police station in North Sinai Saturday, in the same style of two earlier massive attacks, military sources told Youm7.

A military conscript, an officer and four civilians were injured by shrapnel at the station, however.
Two assailants were reportedly driving car bombs with 80 tons of explosives; one car headed to the station from the south entrance on Sheikh Zuwayed-Gorah road, but it detonated 50 meters away from the wall of the station after guards showered it with bullets, security sources told Youm7.

The other car detonated meters away as it was being driven from the east direction, also after guards shot at it. A building under construction collapsed due to the explosions, and the facades of over 30 stores were damaged.

Gunmen hiding nearby fired heavy weapons at the station and other security points in the area. A fire fight continued for 20 minutes, prompting security reinforcements. The confrontation ended in security forces chasing the attackers after locals saw some of them feeling in SUVs.

Security specialists collected the remains of the suicide bombers and some of the cars’ rubble, and inspected the crater resulting from the explosion to determine the strength of the bombs.

The operation was similar to a series of attacks Jan. 29, where at least 30 military personnel were killed in attacks on Battalion 101 in Arish, military lounges around Arish police station, a hotel used by the military and other security stations in the area. The simultaneous attacks involved suicide bombers, car bombs, mortar shell, and rocket-propelled grenades.

In an October attack that killed at least 27 in Arish, the same scenario was followed, but the fighters observing the attack managed to arrive at the scene, shoot surviving soldiers and release footage of the operation later.

While Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) has not claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack thus far, it previously announced it carried out the January and October attacks. Two former military officers allegedly train the group.

Egypt announced a one-kilometer wide buffer zone along the borders with Gaza and a nightly curfew since the October attacks.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Ahmed Tantawi and Mohamed Hussein

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