‘We are under siege’: Egyptian Colonel in Sinai
Fierce clashes are ongoing between the Egyptian military and Daesh militants in Egypt's Sheikh Zuweid. (AFP/File)
“We are under siege, the militants didn’t storm inside it so far, or else I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now,” Colonel Mohamed Soliman told Daily News Egypt from inside Sheikh Zuweid police station on Wednesday.
Soliman confirmed that the Sheikh Zuweid police station checkpoint was attacked and militants are surrounding the place.
He could not provide details on the numbers of casualties in Sheikh Zuweid.
Clashes have been ongoing between security forces and North Sinai militants since Wednesday morning.
“State of Sinai” militants have attacked at least five checkpoints. Conflicting reports on the number of deaths have circulated the media, ranging between 30-70 deaths. However these numbers are not confirmed.
Sinai-based journalist Mostafa Singer told Daily News Egypt that “Sheikh Zuweid is currently out of security control”.
A North Sinai resident said that the attacks, which all occurred at the same time, were some of “the biggest in Sheikh Zuweid”. He added that the Sheikh Zuweid police station was surrounded by militants on Wednesday morning.
The resident said the ambulances carrying the injured and the deaths are unable to move as they are trapped in the area of Sheikh Zuweid police station.
He added that the road between Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid was blocked, and that there are reports of a large number of deaths on both sides. The resident added that many civilians lost their lives as a result of the clashes.
The military spokesman stated in two separate statements that 39 militants were killed and that there were at least 10 deaths and injuries on the army’s side. However, the clashes are ongoing, and the numbers of casualties are likely to increase on both sides.
“State of Sinai”, in a statement that went viral through social media accounts affiliated with the group, said that they have hit more than 15 security targets most of which are checkpoints, including the checkpoint security of Sheikh Zuweid police station.
The group did not announce an exact number of deaths.