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1st civilian killed by armed men since Operation Sinai 2018 prompts security sweep in south Arish

An Arish resident was shot and killed by unidentified armed men outside his house late on Saturday evening, according to eyewitnesses. This is the first such incident since the February launch of Operation Sinai 2018 by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

Following the shooting, security forces began canvassing the city’s southern district of Ibny Beitak al-Golf in search of those responsible, according to local residents.

On Saturday night, two unidentified armed men opened fire on the home of Emad al-Bosaily, local sources told Mada Masr. Bosaily, identified by residents as an engineer in North Sinai’s traffic department who managed vehicle inspection in Arish, was killed instantly after being shot in the head at close range. The armed assailants then fled on foot, making their way toward Ibny Beitak al-Golf.

As of Monday, the security sweep has targeted Ibny Beitak al-Golf, in addition to informal settlements housing displaced families from Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed near the city of Arish. According to witnesses, security forces burned down all of these informal housing units.

Following the start of Operation Sinai 2018 on February 9, police and Armed Forces imposed a security enclosure surrounding all of the streets of the city’s third precinct. They also conducted extensive civilian house raids, confiscating residents’ cell phones as part of a new security measure.

Since the commencement of the campaign and the accompanying security measures, targeted attacks on civilians in Arish have halted, as have attacks on police and military vehicles, both of which were had become common features of residential life in Arish in the past few years.

The failed assassination attempt against Commander of the North Sinai Central Security Forces Major General Nasser al-Husseini on May 18 marks the only exception. During the attack, which took place on the Arish ring road, located on the city’s southern periphery, one of the officers in Husseini’s motorcade was killed.

The lives of residents of North Sinai’s major cities have slightly improved in recent weeks, after authorities decided to allow private suppliers to import vegetables and foodstuffs into the governorate, following months of pronounced food shortages and travel restrictions imposed by the Armed Forces.

While this has partially restored life to the region’s major cities, for residents of the villages on the outskirts of Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah, access to food and transport continues to pose a struggle.

In the most recent communiqué on Operation Sinai 2018, published on May 29, Armed Forces spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai announced that security personnel had killed eight armed militants and detained 64 other individuals, in addition to dismantling and destroying 15 improvised explosive devices.

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