Egypt: 8 policemen killed in attack in Sinai

Eight Egyptian policemen killed in terrorist attack near El-Arish.

Ben Ariel ,

Explosions in Sinai near Gaza border (archive)
Explosions in Sinai near Gaza border (archive)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Eight Egyptian policemen were killed on Wednesday in a terrorist attack on a checkpoint in the restive Sinai Peninsula, authorities said, according to AFP.

The attack came as the country marked the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

"Terrorist elements targeted a checkpoint west of El-Arish early this morning... The exchange of fire killed five terrorist elements and eight police were martyred," an interior ministry statement said.

Some of the attackers escaped and security forces are following "their movements", the ministry added.

A security source said reinforcements had been dispatched to the checkpoint near El-Arish, capital of North Sinai province.

"The checkpoint is currently surrounded by the army and police," he said.

Three members of the Central Security Force, under the control of the interior ministry, were also wounded in the attack and taken to El-Arish public hospital, a medical source told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years. Most of the attacks in the region during this time period have been claimed by the Sinai Province, the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Egypt.

The country has been under a state of emergency since April of 2018, after two suicide bombings at churches claimed by ISIS killed at least 45 people in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

In February of 2018, Egypt launched operation “Sinai 2018” in an effort to rid the Sinai Peninsula of Islamic terrorists.

Police raids in May killed 16 suspected jihadists in North Sinai. The raids followed an explosion on a tourist bus near Egypt's famed Giza pyramids, in which 17 people were wounded, including South African tourists.

That attack occurred nearly five months after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus as it travelled near the Giza pyramids outside Cairo.