CAIRO: The militant group Sinai Province has distributed a communiqué among North Sinai Bedouins warning them against using tractors or heavy equipments to avoid running over planted explosives, Youm7 reported Sunday.
“To our families and beloved ones in Rafah, please do not allow any heavy equipment such as tractors or the like into agricultural and desert lands outside the main roads unless after coordination with soldiers of the Province, for your own safety and to avoid harming explosive devices,” said the group, also known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
The communiqué had the logo of the Islamic State (IS) group on it, according to Youm7, which reported that it is the first publication by the Sinai Province carrying IS name. Militants in North Sinai pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014.
Car bombs and armed attacks on military checkpoints and utilities in North Sinai have been on the rise since the 2013 ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi. Hundreds of military and police soldiers died at these attacks, which were mostly claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
The army is waging a magnified campaign to combat the expansion of the group in North Sinai. The campaign has announced killing and arresting hundreds of extremists, in addition to destroying many tunnels used for smuggling goods and persons along the Egypt-Gaza border.
Security sources in Sinai told Youm7 that “terrorist attacks” have declined after imposing a 15-kilometer security fence from Sheikh Zuwayed to El-Goura Village, and another one of 40 kilometers from Arish City to Rafah.
Security fences include the establishing of checkpoints and monitoring booths. A new fence is yet to be established along the road parallel to the coastal road between Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed cities.
Forces in Sinai have incorporated a new strategy to “entrap” North Sinai extremists by planting landmines around military utilities.
In April, dozens of tribes announced they are uniting to assist the military and police in their ongoing fight against “terrorists” in Sinai, as dozens of Bedouins have been beheaded by Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis for their alleged cooperation with the military.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Ismail and Ahmed Arafa