Security forces in North Sinai
Security forces in North SinaiReuters

Egypt's leading ultraconservative Islamist party on Saturday said gunmen on a motorcycle have killed their party's secretary, who was a parliamentary candidate in the northern Sinai city of El-Arish, reported The Associated Press (AP).

The Salafi Al-Nour Party said in a statement that the man, Mostafa Abdel-Rahman, was shot dead Saturday in front of his home as he headed out to a mosque for afternoon prayers.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the killing.

Al-Nour supported the 2013 overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the rival Muslim Brotherhood group. The Salafists had made clear that they did not recognize the elections that were held in the country in which Morsi was elected, nor did they recognize Morsi's legitimacy.

Egypt has been battling a long-running Islamic insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, which escalated following Morsi’s overthrow. Most of those attacks have been claimed by the Sinai Province terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS).

Among the attacks claimed by the Sinai Province since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 

The group has also claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks from the Sinai Peninsula on southern Israel.

In addition their presence in Egypt, where they challenge any moderate interpretation of Islam, Salafists have also challenged the ruling Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. The organization has found itself increasingly struggling with these groups for control over the region after having ousted its PA rival, the Fatah faction, from Gaza in June 2007.

Gaza-based Salafi groups have in the past claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on southern Israel. The Salafi terror organization Majlis Shura Al-Mujahidin has characterized jihad against Jews as “a duty”.