Islamic State militants 'besiege key points' near Egypt's Suez Canal

Islamic State militants 'besiege key points' near Egypt's Suez Canal
Tribal sources and eyewitnesses said dozens of Islamic State Sinai Province group militants had been seen near power transformers in the city of El Qantara Sharq, on the Suez Canal's eastern bank
1 min read
11 August, 2022
IS militants in Egypt have besieged infrastructure El Qantara Sharq, which sits of the eastern bank of the Suez Canal [Camille Delbos/Art In All of Us/Corbis/Getty-file photo]

Islamic State group militants in northern Egypt on Thursday besieged vital infrastructure east of the Suez Canal.

Dozens of militants from the IS affiliate Wilayat Sinai had been seen near power transformers in Ismailia governorate's El Qantara Sharq city which sits on the canal's eastern bank, tribal sources and eyewitnesses told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The sources said the militants were located several kilometres away from the canal, which is important to Egypt's economy and a crucial world trade route, including for fossil fuels.

The extremists had also surrounded the railway area in the city and were stopping the movement of civilians, according to the sources.

The police and army had started to enter the area, they added.

An insurgency in Egypt's North Sinai governorate began in 2011 and worsened following current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's 2013 military coup.

IS-affiliated militants have on occasion attempted to move into areas around the Suez Canal, but have been beaten back by redoubled state security efforts.

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The Egyptian military and allied tribal groups have since March been waging a fierce military campaign against IS in several areas.

These include North Sinai's capital, Arish, and Rafah, a city bordering the blockaded Palestinian Gaza Strip.

The campaign has restored control over areas where militants had been present for many years.