Sinai Bedouins - Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
NORTH SINAI, Dec 21 (Aswat Masriya) – Residents of North Sinai’s al-Arish found on Sunday four unidentified bodies inside a deserted house, a police source said.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya the bodies were found south of Arish. They were all shot at close range.
The four bodies were taken to the General Arish Hospital Morgue, the source said.
The number of security personnel and civilians killed in armed attacks by militants in North Sinai significantly surged during the past few months.
Residents of the Sheikh Zuweid region found on August 20 the decapitated bodies of four civilians.
In a video allegedly released in August by the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most dangerous militant group, the group claimed responsibility for the beheading of the four civilians, accusing them of providing intelligence to Israel.
Similar executions of civilians have been repeatedly occurring since then, gripping the lives of dozens of residents.
Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.
At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid on October 24, in the worst militant attack since Mursi's ouster.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has changed its name to Sinai Province since pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, also claimed responsibility for the attack in a video released on November 14.
The group claimed on December 1 responsibility for the killing of an American petroleum engineer who was found dead in a car in the desert last August.