At least 21 Egyptian security officers were killed in Sinai early Monday in an apparent motor vehicle accident.
According to the AFP new agency, a troop carrier from the Central Security Forces flipped over while racing down a single lane mountain road along the border with Israel. Approximately 24 others were injured in the accident, according to a report broadcast on ABC News.
Health Ministry official Tarek Khater was quoted as saying the vehicle rolled over several times before it finally came to a stop on the badly-maintained road. He said that eleven others were injured, including several in critical condition.
Egyptian military personnel are in the Sinai Peninsula attempting to fight the rise of radical Islamist elements there. However, both sources insisted the accident took place in a different part of the region than the area in which military operations are taking place.
Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula have been pressuring Cairo to allow them to participate in security operations and become members of a local police force in the area.
Tribal leaders met last month with Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal el-Din over a plan to allow 1,000 Bedouin to be trained – and then armed as a local security force – by the Interior Ministry.
However, the Egyptian government has been hesitant for fear of creating a new, independent militia that would only add to its problems. The region has become a breeding ground for independent terrorist organizations as well as Bedouin criminals who operate throughout the Sinai. And Egypt's army has become increasingly weakened in the face of rising lawlessness in the area since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.