Sunday, October 25, 2020

Booby traps set by ISIS in Sinai kill at least 14 in 2 weeks

Oct 25, 2020.

More than a dozen civilians, including women and children, have been killed in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula over the past two weeks from explosive devices laid down in their homes by terrorists, security and medical officials said Sunday.

Islamic State members attacked several villages in the town of Bir al-Abd in July, forcing people to flee their homes. The military then secured the villages in August and allowed residents to return to their homes a few weeks later, the officials said.

The ISIS members, however, had laid booby traps in several houses that killed at least 14 people, including six from the same family late on Saturday, officials said. The causalities included women and children.

At least 10 others have been wounded since Oct. 12 and were taken to the town's hospital for treatment, they said.

Bir al-Abd was the site of a horrific extremist attack on a mosque in 2017 that killed over 300 worshippers, some of them fathers praying with their young sons. The tribes of North Sinai have been heavily targeted by terrorists who view their veneration of Muslim saints and shrines as heretical, forcing a mass exodus of residents from the impoverished area that has long been underdeveloped by the government.

Violence and instability there intensified after the military overthrew the country's Islamist president in 2013 amid nationwide protests against the Muslim Brotherhood group's divisive rule. Extremists have since carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.

The conflict has largely taken place out of public view, with journalists and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict has so far not expanded into the southern end of the peninsula where popular Red Sea tourist resorts are located.

In February 2018, the military launched a massive operation in Sinai that also encompassed parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country's western border with Libya. Since then, the pace of Islamic State attacks in Sinai's north has diminished.

Israel Hayom