The Egyptian army on Wednesday (September 13th) foiled an "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) operation in North Sinai targeting a security checkpoint.
"A group of terrorists exploited poor visibility caused by fog, and one of them, wearing an explosive vest, tried to storm an army checkpoint in Sinai," said army spokesman Brig. Gen. Tamer Ibrahim.
"However, the forces were vigilant and killed the suicide bomber before he could detonate," he said, noting that the forces engaged the other elements in a shootout, killing five and wounding two others.
Two Egyptian soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire, he said.
"The remaining elements fled the scene," he said, adding that the security forces are in pursuit.
The armed forces targeted ISIS positions west of Rafah and carried out a number of airstrikes yesterday and today, said Egyptian journalist Ali Abdul Hafiz, who specialises in military affairs.
Some extremists were killed or wounded in the raids, he said, but details of the casualties have not yet been released.
Blocking militants' movement
"The army also has carried out security campaigns on roads leading to Rafah, al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Dhahiya in northern al-Arish," he told Al-Mashareq.
This is to prevent the militants from moving between these cities, he said, and has so far netted seven suspects.
"ISIS is trying to carry out as many operations as possible in order to say that it has a presence in Sinai after it suffered a series of blows at the hands of the Egyptian army," said security expert Maj. Gen. Farid Hajjaj.
These ISIS operations also come following reports about differences among the group’s elements in Egypt, he told Al-Mashareq.
"The army will exploit the fact that ISIS elements have left their hideouts and will now hunt them down by intensifying air sorties to find out about their movements in order to put an end to the group’s presence in Egypt," he said.