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ESW Week in Brief: November 17 – November 25, 2018

Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for five attacks this week, all using IEDs against military targets and development projects opened in North Sinai on the anniversary of the Rawda mosque attack.


  • Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for five attacks this week. All used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against military targets throughout the North Sinai province.
  • Development projects opened in North Sinai on the anniversary of the Rawda mosque attack.


Wilayat Sinai Claims Five Attacks This Week

On November 17, the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency reported a Wilayat Sinai IED attack, which damaged a military truck outside the Arish airport. Amaq reported two Wilayat Sinai attacks on November 18:  One targeted a military bulldozer near Rafah, and a second targeted a patrol near Sheikh Zuweid. On November 24 and 25, Amaq reported in two statements that Wilayat Sinai damaged two military bulldozers near Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah respectively.

Over the past three months, 46 of the 48 attacks claimed by Wilayat Sinai have been reported in Arish, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid or in their surrounding areas; the other two attacks were reported in North Sinai’s Mount Helal. IEDs have accounted for 35 of those 48 attacks.


Interior Ministry Raid Kills 12 Militants

News reports described a raid by agents of the Ministry of Interior, which killed 12 militants in Arish. Reports claim that seven militants were killed upon initial contact with security forces and five more were killed when they attempted to flee. There was no mention of the raid on the ministry’s Facebook page.

Four similar raids have been reported since August in Arish. An August raid in Arish’s al-Malalha neighborhood killed 12 suspected militants. Eleven were killed in a shootout with police on September 10 in Arish’s Jasr al-Wadi district. Most recently, two October raids killed 15 and 10 militants.


Italian Authorities Arrest Egyptian Man for Allegedly Supporting the Islamic State

Issam al-Sayyed al-Sayyed Abou al-Ayem Shalabi was arrested in Italy for spreading jihadist propaganda and planning to join the Islamic State; it is not clear what legal action will be taken against him. A second Egyptian was expelled from the country and a third is being sought by authorities. It is unclear what charges, if any, the men would face if they are repatriated to Egypt. Italy has expelled over 300 jihadist sympathizers since 2015.


One Year After Rawda Attack, New Housing Projects Open

North Sinai Governor Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha opened 300 houses in Rawda for the victims of the November 2017 Rawda mosque attack and their families. Funding came from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Housing, and the Ministry of Endowments. The state has also announced its intention to build aquaculture and education projects, as well as further housing units, to benefit the same population, though these were not part of this week’s unveiling.


Wilayat Sinai Reportedly Seized Iranian Weapons Shipment from Hamas

The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, citing an unnamed Egyptian security source, reported that Wilayat Sinai stole an Iranian weapons shipment to Hamas, including Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles; the report has since been republished throughout Israeli media. Previously, in a March statement on Operation Sinai 2018, the Egyptian military spokesman announced that the Egyptian Armed Forces had seized Kornet missiles in a raid. The last instance of Kornets being used in North Sinai was in a December 2017 attack on a helicopter transporting the ministers of defense and interior in Arish.


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