At least seven Egyptian policemen were killed in the northern Sinai Peninsula on Monday after a complex attack which targeted a checkpoint in El-Arish.
According to Reuters, the attack began when a bomb, which had been planted in a stolen vehicle several days earlier, exploded. The explosion was followed by gun fire and rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs).
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that around 20 people were involved in the attack and that five had been killed and three wounded by Egyptian security forces. The Interior Ministry also confirmed the use of RPGs.
No group has taken immediate responsibility for the attack. However, the terror group Sinai Province, which is affiliated with ISIS, has persistently waged attacks against Egyptian military forces in the Sinai since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Although the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi regime in Cairo has been the primary target for Sinai Province, the group has also made clear that it is committed to attacking Israel, which borders the Sinai Peninsula. In July 2016, Sinai Province was responsible for firing three Grad rockets into Israel. In 2013, two rockets were fired by the group on Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city. Meanwhile, Sinai Province is thought to have been responsible for a complex terror attack in 2011, which saw four terrorist groups attack an Israeli civilian bus and several army vehicles near the Egyptian border. Six civilians, two IDF personnel and several Egyptian soldiers were killed.
Israel and Egypt are thought to work closely on security-related matters, especially over combating Islamist terror groups. Both have deep concerns over cooperation between Sinai Province and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which are thought to aid each other via smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border.
[Photo: CNN / YouTube ]