Egyptian soldiers keep guard in Sinai 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Egyptian army killed a jihadist leader and his son in Sinai on Tuesday.
The killing of Mohamed Hussein Muhareb, also known as Abu Mounir, took place in his Nissan truck during an exchange of fire, according to a statement on Facebook by military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali.
Mounir was a prominent member of the jihadists and is believed to have been behind the killing of Egyptian security personnel.
The army killed three other jihadists and arrested four, Ali said.
Mounir came from Sinai’s Beduin Sawarka tribe and was a preacher favored by jihadists, according to a local resident quoted by Mada Masr, an Egyptian news website.
“Since the ouster of [president] Mohamed Morsi in early July, there have been more than 250 reported attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, most of which were carried out against Egyptian security forces and assets,” said David Barnett, a research associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to the Long War Journal website, told The Jerusalem Post.
Barnett, who closely follows the ongoing fighting in Sinai, said that even though there has been a relative decline in the number of attacks from July to October, November has already reached October’s tally.
“Today’s operation will no doubt be used by the army as evidence that operations in north Sinai are going well,” he said pointing out that it is unlikely that Tuesday’s operations will play a significant role in stemming the ongoing attacks.
"There are worrying signs,” he said observing that “the Sinai insurgency is spreading to the Nile Delta as well as Cairo.”
The chaos in Sinai and the escalation of violence against Egyptian security forces by Islamists has increased substantially since Morsi was removed from power in a military coup in July.