Egypt’s army said it continues to combat terrorism in the restive North Sinai area, announcing it has killed a man who allegedly failed to stop at a security checkpoint.
A military spokesman said in a statement on Monday that security forces killed Soliman Ayyad Ateyya, who was driving a pickup truck near Nakhl area in central Sinai, as he “refused to stop at a security checkpoint and attempted to break through it.”
The statement says authorities later discovered the man had fled prison during the January 2011 uprising. He had been accused in several robbery cases.
The spokesman also said forces arrested a man near Al-Qasima town in central Sinai for allegedly “surveilling a security checkpoint.” It has also ceased weapons and ammunition in different areas in Sinai, in addition to drugs and unlicensed motorcycles.
Meanwhile, on Sunday the army said it had “discovered and destroyed 22 smuggling tunnel openings” near the North Sinai border.
Egypt’s army has been battling a decade-long militant Islamic insurgency mainly in North Sinai that has intensified since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Militant attacks have left hundreds of police and army personnel dead.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group, which has pledged allegiance to the regional Islamic State group last November, has claimed responsibility for some of these attacks.
The army has repeatedly announced killing or arresting hundreds of suspected “terrorists” and destroying dozens of smuggling tunnels.
On 22 March, the army said it had killed 45 suspected “terrorists” in one week during air strikes and raids in the North Sinai cities of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.
It also stated it had killed 173 suspected militants in the tumultuous peninsula in February.
Meanwhile, the army is creating a buffer zone on the Rafah-Gaza border which has forced thousands of locals to relocate to other cities in Sinai.
Media reports have surfaced claiming civilians are often caught in the violence between militants and the army. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has previously said forces are dedicated to protecting civilians lives in the area.