North Sinai’s second largest tribe al-Sawarka declares war against Sinai Province

Following a declaration of war against the Islamic State-affiliated group Sinai Province by the prominent al-Tarbiyeen tribe in North Sinai, the governorate’s second largest tribe al-Sawarka issued a similar declaration.

In a statement released on Monday, the tribe said that recent developments in confronting extremists in the Sinai Peninsula have made it necessary for al-Sawarka to make its stance clear.

The tribe asserted that Sinai Province is an extension of the IS group and means to destroy nations; therefore, national and religious duty obliges al-Sawarka to also work to combat the group.

“Only the government has the authority to call for military action against extremists; moreover, any military activity against them should be under the auspices of state security—on top of which is the Armed Forces,” the statement read.

The tribe’s statement clarified that since the beginning of military confrontations between Sinai Province and the state, represented in army and police forces, sons of the tribe were some of the top participants in these battles.

Many civilians who are affiliated with the tribe have paid a heavy price when they were killed by the terrorist group, the statement read, adding that many tribesmen are cooperation with the Armed Forces in its battle against IS.

The tribe said they will be in direct military confrontation with Sinai Province and will form a common command between the tribes and the Armed Forces to coordinate operations.

The entry of North Sinai’s tribal members into the battle raging in the province is believed to pose a radical change to the future of the war against the Islamic State.

Sinai tribes have a great knowledge of militant hiding places and more access to local information than the Armed Forces.

Recently, al-Tarbyeen managed to capture nine members of Sinai Province who were attempting to reach a tribal meeting place in order to stage an attack, according to a statement released by the tribe’s spokesperson Moussa el-Dalh.

The statement said that among the captured was an IS Police Authority official, alleged to be active on the ground in North Sinai.  This step is the first-of-its kind to be achieved in the war which has been raging between the group and the state over the past three years.

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