Egypt Watch

ISIS blows up electricity network in North Sinai cutting power supply to main cities

Tribal sources have said that Wilayet Sinai, the local ISIS branch, has blown up several electricity towers in Bir Al-Abd, Sheikh Zuweid, Arish, and Rafah.

The explosions targeted the electricity network in North Sinai leaving its cities in darkness due to the lack of a power supply. The sources added that governmental teams of electricity technicians are working on repairing the damages under the supervision of the Egyptian military.

The escalation of ISIS attacks over the past months have attracted attention with frequent attacks on the official corps leaving casualties including among high-ranking officers. In May, Colonel Khaled Erian, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian SWAT in Sinai, was killed by a sniper bullet in Sheikh Zuweid.

Days later, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Gomaa, commander of reconnaissance battalion 26, was killed by an explosive device. Also in June ISIS succeeded in targeting his successor, Major Ahmed Ashraf, in the same manner. In August, another explosive device blew up a military patrol, headed by Colonel Mohamed Abdel Motagally, in Rafah. In between those attacks, attacks on military checkpoints and patrols in Sinai have continued along with attacks on economic projects affiliated to the military in Sinai, in particular the construction of New Rafah city.

Although the military reassured the workers with a visit of General Mohamed Farid, chief-of-staff of the military, to the site, attacks on the workers and construction equipment continued, including on the patrols responsible for securing the site. The sharp rise of ISIS attacks comes three years after the military announced its “Comprehensive Operation – Sinai 2018,” which was supposed to end the insurgency in Sinai. Despite such military operations and human rights violations reported recurrently by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the military failed to control North Sinai and eliminate ISIS.