Nine civilians – including a three year old girl – were killed in an armed attack in Al-Arish on Wednesday, North Sinai Governor Abdel Fattah Harhour told Egyptian state television.
According to security sources, unknown assailants raided a house late Wednesday night and shot everyone present, while a father and his three year old daughter were killed by an exploding bomb as they drove past the incident in their car. The people that were shot inside the house all belonged to one family, which had recently fled from Rafah. It is unclear whether the two people killed in the car were also related to them.
Sources on the ground believe the family was suspected of collaborating with security forces, triggering the violent attack.
Unrest in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula began in January 2011 after the start of the Egyptian revolution and has seen renewed violence since the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
A state of emergency has been imposed on North Sinai since October 2014, when an attack by militants on a checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid left more than 30 military personnel dead. Last July, a large scale attack on multiple army checkpoints killed at least 21 military personnel according to government sources, even though medical sources reported much higher figures.
In September 2015, the Egyptian military launched a major counterinsurgency operation aimed at rooting out militants. The operation targeted sites in Rafah, Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and other towns in the northern areas of the peninsula. According to military sources, 535 militants were killed in September 2015.
Earlier this month president Abdelfattah el-Sisi told the BBC the situation in Sinai was ‘under control’.