Middle East – North Africa News Brief

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MENA BRIEF, SITREP July 3 – July 10: Middle East and Northern Africa Regional Low Intensity Conflicts.

[MISC]: Lifting of on-flight electronics ban on US-bound flights from certain airports.

The US ban prohibiting the carry on of larger electronic devices, such as laptops, inside the passenger cabin of airplanes from key hubs of the Middle East is slowly being lifted. This after the airports and airlines targeted by the ban have upgraded their security routines, and received US certifications of this. As of yet, the international and national airlines of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, have had the ban lifted. The national airlines of Morocco, and Egypt, remain on the list of airlines that do not comply with the new security standard.

[BAHRAIN]:

Opposition Shiite groups continue to call for daily protests and public gatherings against the Sunni-led government throughout the week. Small gatherings and protests were held, but with little impact or local coverage. No gathering reached critical mass, which would have resulted in Bahraini security forces interjecting.

[SAUDI ARABIA]:

JUL4, al-Awamiyah, al-Qatif governorate, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia; The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has confirmed that a security forces patrol was fired upon in an early dawn attack near the Mousawarah neighborhood, in al-Awamiyah.  The attack was carried out using, what is believed to be, a homemade rocket propelled grenade launcher. 1 member of the security forces unit was killed, and 3 others were injured.

JUL6, al-Awamiyah, al Qatif governorate, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia; MoI confirmed that a homemade “explosive projectile”,  the same design as the one used during the JUL4 attack, was used against security forces on JUL6. The attack killed 1 soldier, wounding 6 others, during a routine patrol in the area.

JUL8, al-Nassirah, al Qatif governorate, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia; MoI confirmed that a homemade “explosive shell”, likely the same design used during the JUL6 al-Awamiyah and JUL4 al-Awamiyah attacks, was used during an attack on a Security Forces patrol vehicle. At 00:15, an “explosive shell” struck a lightly armored army vehicle on patrol outside of a construction site, neutralizing the vehicle completely, and injuring 2 soldiers.

JUL9, al-Aridhah, Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia; A rocket, fired from an al Houthi controlled area in Yemen, struck a parking area in al-Aridhah. Two vehicles were damaged, and one civilian was injured.

[EGYPT]:

JUL5, Regional Ring Road, outside of al-Bilaydah, Giza, South of Cairo, Egypt; A road toll station was struck by 18 rifle caliber rounds, killing 3 individuals. The victims were 1 Egyptian Army conscript soldier, and 2 retired Egyptian Army officers. As of yet, no one has claimed the attack. Egyptian government statements imply that it believe that the attack was carried out by the Hasm movement.

JUL6, 26th of July Corridor, Giza, South of Cairo, Egypt; Ministry of Interior (MoI) has confirmed that 1 soldier, and 1 civilian, were killed during a late night drive-by attack on a security station in Kardasah.

JUL7, al-‘Gabal al-Asfar, Qalyubia Province, North of Cairo, Egypt; An Egyptian Army officer was gunned down outside of his private residence in a suburb of al-‘Gabal al-Asfar. The attack was carried out using motorcycles, utilizing drive by shooting tactics. The Muslim Brotherhood offshoot group Hasm has claimed responsibility for the attack.

JUL7, outside of el-Barth village, Northern Sinai, Egypt; A Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive (SVBIED) detonated by a checkpoint outside of the village of el-Barth, killing more than 10 Egyptian soldiers. The SVBIED attack was followed up by several drive by attacks by men in pickup trucks. In total, the death toll on the Egyptian Army’s side, is believed to have been more than 20 Egyptian soldiers, including several officers. At least 33 others were wounded. Egyptian Army spokesman Colonel Tamer Mahmoud El-Refaay described the event as a thwarted attack, stating that the checkpoint forces were able to kill  approximately 40 jihadists and destroy 6 vehicles. The Sinai chapter of the Islamic State has claimed the attack.

JUL8, Cairo, Egypt; The Public Prosecutor’s office referred 292 defendants to military trial. The 292 defendants stand accused of forming terrorist cells. 2 of the defendants also stand accused of having carried out an assassination attempt on the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

JUL9, al-Arish, Northern Sinai, Egypt; An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated near a police vehicle, killing 2 Army conscripts, and wounding 9 others. The Sinai chapter of the Islamic State has claimed the attack.

JUL10, Dayrout, Asyut, South Egypt; 6 individuals with alleged Islamic State affiliations were killed during a fire exchange with Security Forces. The individuals opened fire upon approaching Security Forces during a raid on a farming area. Arms, ammunition, explosives, and Egyptian Army clothing, were found on the scene.

[TURKEY]:

JUL3, Demetevler District, Ankara, Turkey; A violent disruption erupted between Syrian refugees, and Turkish citizens, due to ethnic tensions. Despite early intervention by local police forces, at least 3 individuals were injured in the dispute.

JUL3, Aegean Sea, off of the coast of the Island of Rhodes, Greek territorial waters; A Greek coast guard vessel opened fire against a Turkish-flagged ship. This occurred after the ship refused an order to head towards the Greek port of Mandraki.

JUL5, Kayseri Province, Central Turkey; Turkish Security Forces detained 4 individuals with alleged Islamic State affiliations. This happened after local intelligence services received information indicating that the individuals belonged to a terror cell that was planning to use a vehicle to attack civilians.

JUL5, Hatay Province, Southern Turkey; Turkish Police arrested 37 Syrian citizens with Islamic State affiliations. The individuals were traveling from the Syrian border, which they had crossed illegally into Turkey. 5.25 kilograms of TNT, along with 9 detonators, were found on their persons.

JUL5, Kartepe District, Izmit City, Kocaeli Province, Turkey; Turkish Security Forces detained 2 individuals with alleged Islamic State affiliations. The individuals are believed to be an extension of the terror cell in Kayseri Province, which was raided earlier that same day.

JUL6, Istanbul, Turkey; Turkish Security Forces raided two safe houses, in Okmeydani and Dolapdere, leading to the arrest of 5 males. The 5 males are believed to have affiliations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). During the raids, explosive materials were found.

JUL7, Istanbul, Turkey; Nationwide arrests of individuals with perceived Islamic State affiliations. A series of raids throughout Istanbul resulted in the arrest of 29 individuals. According to official reports by the police, weapons, explosives, and documents, were seized during the raids.

[ISRAEL and PALESTINE]:

JUL4, Jerusalem, Israel; Isaac Herzog lost his bid for re-election to head the center-left Labour Party, an opposition party to the right-leaning Likud party. An election will be held later this week to elect Herzog’s replacement. Veteran lawmaker Amir Peretz, a former defense minister, is the likeliest contender.

LIMA CHARLIE, MENA Desk

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