An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on the highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, May 25, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
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One Monday in April, Shaher Saeed was driving south of Al-Arish in Egypt's North Sinai when he came upon a group of Daesh (ISIS) militants who had stopped a truck carrying cigarettes.Coupled with an increase in attacks on Christians inside and outside its predominant area of operations in North Sinai, the developments mark a significant change of tactics for Egypt's Daesh affiliate.A 25-minute video posted in late March on an internet channel often used by Daesh showed militants announcing the creation of a Hisba in North Sinai, modeled on religious police units operating in parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by Daesh.In February, Sinai Province declared in another video its intent to wipe out Egypt's Christians, who account for about 10 percent of the 92 million population.The murder of seven Christians in North Sinai in the three weeks from Jan. 30 was different, more systematic and more insidious, officials and rights groups said at the time.Where fighting once centered around the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, near the Gaza border, militants have carried out more attacks in and around Al-Arish, the provincial capital about 52 kilometers further west.
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