ISMAILIA, Egypt, Nov 4 – A senior Egyptian general was shot dead by militants on Friday near his home in North Sinai where a Daesh insurgency is raging, health and security sources said, the second such incident in as many weeks.
Gunmen opened fire on Brigadier General Hesham Mahmoud Abualazm, 47, on the street from a moving car in Arish city, North Sinai’s provincial capital, the sources said. He died instantly.
Abualazm was on a visit to Arish and does not serve in Sinai, the sources added. There was no official statement from Egypt’s military.
An Islamist insurgency in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula gained pace after the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed.
Militant groups appear to be stepping up attacks with the emergence of a new group calling itself Louwaa al-Thawra, or the Revolution Brigade, which claimed responsibility for a similar attack on Oct. 22 when another general was killed in the same way as Abualazm.
Another senior military officer and a soldier were killed on Saturday in North Sinai by a roadside explosion.
Daesh guerrillas ambushed a military checkpoint on Oct. 14 killing 12 Egyptian soldiers in the town of Bir al-Abd, the first major attack in the central Sinai area, which had so far escaped their campaign.
Egyptian authorities said earlier on Friday they had arrested leaders and members of Louwaa al-Thawra and another recently emerged militant group, the Hasam Movement, along with weapons, explosives and proof that the organisations had been set up by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Judges, policemen, military officers, and other senior officials have increasingly been targeted by radical Islamists angered by hefty prison sentences imposed on members of the now-outlawed Brotherhood.