Egypt says 7 policemen killed in Sinai attack

Four gunmen also killed in the attack on police near the regional capital El Arish.

[Al Jazeera]

Seven Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack claimed by the ISIL armed group in restive North Sinai.

Egypt‘s interior ministry said the attack late Tuesday near the regional capital El Arish targeted an “assembly centre” for police, adding that an officer was among the dead.

Four fighters, including a suicide bomber, also died during clashes following the attack, the ministry said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility, saying it carried out simultaneous raids on military positions in El Arish, according to a statement carried on the group’s Amaq website.

Security sources said the assailants used about 10 four-wheel drive vehicles in coordinated attacks at four sites.

North Sinai has long been a stronghold of armed groups and Egyptian authorities launched an offensive against them last year.

Egypt is currently on high alert as it hosts football’s Africa Cup of Nations, although none of the games are taking place in Sinai.

A month before the tournament kicked off, a tourist bus was hit by a roadside bomb near the Pyramids of Giza, wounding 17 people including South African tourists and Egyptians.

A similar attack in December killed three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian tour guide.

Egypt has battled an insurgency in northern Sinai since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Attacks intensified in 2013 after the army deposed Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt.

After his removal, Morsi was detained and tried in several cases. He died last week at the age of 67 after suddenly collapsing inside a courtroom in Cairo.

Source: News Agencies