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2nd targeted attack on civilians since Operation Sinai 2018 start in west Arish

A citizen of west Arish was shot and killed by unidentified assailants in front of his house on Monday in the second incident of this nature this week, according to local residents who spoke to Mada Masr.

On Saturday, an engineer at the Arish traffic authority was also killed outside his home in central Arish. This marked the first incident of a civilian being targeted since the February start of Operation Sinai 2018.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, local sources told Mada Masr that two armed men shot three bullets at the head of Mostafa Abu Rania on Monday, leading to his immediate death.

The sources added that Abu Rania is originally from Sharqiya Governorate, but lives in Arish and owns a small grocery shop next to his house in the Masaeed neighborhood of Arish.

Upon hearing a knock on his door at around 10 pm, Abu Rania, assuming that someone wanted to buy something from his shop, stepped out of his house. He was then shot by the gunmen, who immediately fled the scene on foot, according to the sources.

Residents of the neighborhood posed that he may have been targeted as his shop was frequented by the security personnel who staff a nearby checkpoint.

The sources expressed surprise that the assailants reached Masaeed, as the area is close to a fortified military camp, and is patrolled by armored police vehicles in the evenings. They added they they don’t leave their houses at night due to their proximity to the city’s outskirts.

No group has claimed responsibility for killing either of the men.

Last Saturday, the Islamic State’s news agency Amaq announced that the group’s Egypt affiliate Province of Sinai group has bombed two military vehicles in the border city of Rafah.  

Following the commencement of the campaign and the accompanying security measures, targeted attacks on civilians in Arish halted, as have attacks on police and military vehicles, both of which were previously common features of residential life in Arish.

However, in recent weeks, security measures in the governorate have been somewhat loosened to allow for increased freedom of movement and transport of goods. The lives of residents in major cities have seen a slight improvement in recent weeks, following months of pronounced food shortages and travel restrictions imposed by the Armed Forces. For those living in villages on the outskirts of Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah, access to food and transport continues to pose a struggle.