Gunmen killed eight civilians, including a child, in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula where the army is battling a jihadist insurgency, medical and security sources said Thursday. Unidentified armed men shot and killed seven men and a four-year-old child in their home in El-Arish in North Sinai on Wednesday night, a security official said.
The source said the victims, who were from the Palestinian town of Rafah on the border with the Gaza Strip and lived near a police station, had been killed for cooperating with the security forces. The eight bodies were taken Thursday morning to a hospital in El-Arish, an official there said.
Egypt’s affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist group has previously claimed to have executed several Sinai inhabitants that it accused of being informants for the security forces. The jihadist group also claimed to have downed the Russian Metrojet A-321 plane over the Sinai on October 31, killing all 224 people on board.
Cairo says militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since 2013, when the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The army has regularly announced the death or capture of jihadists since it launched an offensive against them in 2012, but its figures cannot be independently verified.