In the past three days, Islamic State militants in Egypt’s volatile northern Sinai region abducted four men accused of collaborating with the government, three of them during a brazen raid in the middle of a public market. Two of the men have been found slain while the others remain missing; Egyptian officials say that one of the slain men had his eyes plucked out and was set on fire before being shot to death.
Women are being threatened with punishment if they don’t wear the niqab and farmers are being forced to pay financial tribute to ISIS under the guise of the “zakat” mandatory Islamic donation to charity. The militants have set up their own checkpoints especially on the roads around the city of Rafah, which borders the Gaza Strip. Passengers are forced to recite from the Quran before being allowed to pass, according to area residents and tribal leaders.
This recent show-of-strength campaign by ISIS loyalists in northern Sinai comes on the heels of a recent easing of the military campaign against them and represents a move to reassert their control over the local civilian population, according to residents, tribal leaders and officials. (Read more from “ISIS Gains Ground, Targets Egyptian Christians in Sinai” HERE)