ESW Week in Brief: March 23-29, 2019

03/29/2019 . By TIMEP

Summary

  • Wilayat Sinai released a 14-minute video, featuring footage of their December 17 raid on a checkpoint in al-Maghara, in which Wilayat Sinai claimed to have assaulted the checkpoint and killed or wounded 20 members of the Egyptian military, and their February 16 attack on a checkpoint near the Arish airport, which the group claimed killed 20 soldiers.
  • Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for five attacks in North Sinai province, the most attacks claimed in a week since January.

Wilayat Sinai Releases First Propaganda Video Since November

Wilayat Sinai released a 14-minute video entitled “Covenant and Steadfastness.” The video began with a message from an Islamic State  militant in Baghouz, Syria, the group’s last territorial holding in the country. Two individuals, identified as Abu Yahya al-Masri and Abu Awis al-Masri, delivered a call to arms from what appeared to be Rafah, which was intercut with combat footage, including December’s raid on the al-Maghara checkpoint and a March 14 clash in Jabal al-Yalek. Wilayat Sinai last released a video in November, “The Path of Reason,” which included similar content.

Wilayat Sinai Claims Five Attacks; Brings Monthly Total to 13

On March 26, Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Arish’s industrial zone. The first attack targeted a military humvee and a bulldozer, reportedly killing two officers and a conscript. The second attack allegedly killed four dismounted soldiers and wounded others. On March 27, Wilayat Sinai claimed two more attacks, one in Rafah and one in Bir Gifgafa. In Rafah, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack targeted a military bulldozer. In Bir Gifgafa, a gunman killed two civilians and wounded 10 others, targeting a car full of workers and their security escort, as they traveled to their work on a development project. Wilayat Sinai, referencing the same incident, claimed that they had killed an Egyptian soldier in the same area. On March 28, Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for targeting a tank with an IED south of Sheikh Zuweid.

The five attacks bring Wilayat Sinai’s total March claims to 13, an increase from February’s total. In March, 12 civilians were killed or injured, representing the highest reports of civilian casualties since December. The attack claims from March also represent the most geographically diverse of 2019: claims spanned five cities, the most since December 2018.