According to Egypt Daily News, a police sergeant was killed in Al-Arish on Wednesday (September 3), hours after seven alleged Islamist militants were killed and six were injured during a military operation in the morning.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said the attack on the sergeant occurred just outside his home.
As part of the military operation in the morning, eleven suspected militants were also arrested, state-run al-Ahram reported.
Khalid El-Kesha, a former brigadier general of the Egyptian army and military analyst said “the operation [on Wednesday morning] relied heavily on intelligence sources,” El-Kesha reported.
The Egyptian general said the military raid was “a continuation of operations directed at militants in Sinai who are conducting terrorist operations (i.e., kidnappings and beheadings” and added “that escalation by these militants will take the form of targeting army and police officials."
COMMENT: In the current northern Sinai security crack-down, security forces have destroyed a number of buildings used by suspected militants and more than 1,700 smuggling tunnels along the Rafah crossing.
Since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, armed groups have been targeting security personnel, especially in the North Sinai region.
The murder of the police sergeant comes one day after an attack on a security convoy in North Sinai left one officer and ten conscripts dead, after it hit a landmine planted on the roadway. The perpetrators of the attack are still unknown.
Three militants were killed on Monday (September 1) during clashes with the armed forces in Sheikh Zuweid, according to state-run news agency MENA.
On June 28, unidentified gunmen stopped a bus transporting police officers and shot and killed four of them near Al-Arish.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs factsheet places the death toll for terrorist activities since January 2011 to April 2014 at 971, including 477 policemen and 187 army personnel. The death toll of civilians was 307.
While previous attacks mainly targeted working security forces on duty, there has been a trend in recent months, in which off-duty police officers have been targeted.
More than a dozen police officers have been killed in drive-by attacks in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqeya alone. Almost all of these attacks were perpetrated by gunmen on motorcycles, striking Egyptian police and military officers on their way home from work.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired militant organisation based in Sinai, has claimed responsibility for the majority of fatalities.