At least 30 killed in militant attacks in Egypt's Sinai

2015-07-01 13:00

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ismailia/Cairo - At least 30 people were killed when Islamist militants attacked several checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday, security and medical sources said, in one of the biggest coordinated assaults yet in the insurgency-hit province.

Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on Twitter.

It was second high-profile action in Egypt this week. On Monday, the prosecutor-general was killed in a car bombing in Cairo, raising questions about the government's ability to contain the insurgency.

The army said five checkpoints were attacked by about 70 militants and that soldiers had destroyed three landcruisers fitted with anti-aircraft guns.

Security sources said militants were surrounding a police station in the town of Sheikh Zuweid and had planted bombs around it to prevent forces from leaving.

Army supplies

Doctor Osama el-Sayed of El-Arish General Hospital in the provincial capiatl said 30 bodies had been brought in, "some of whom were wearing army fatigues".

The exact breakdown of identities of those killed was not immediately clear. Security sources had said at least 20 security personnel were killed and 40 wounded. The army spokesperson said 22 of the attackers were killed and 10 soldiers were killed or wounded.

Security sources said the militants had planted bombs along a road between Sheikh Zuweid and an army camp to prevent the movement of any army supplies or reinforcements. Meanwhile, Apache helicopters and F-16 planes strafed the area.

The insurgency based in the Sinai is seeking to topple the Cairo government and has managed to defy one of the toughest security crackdowns in Egypt's history.

It has intensified since 2013, when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed president Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist, after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed in attacks since then.

State of emergency

The most active militant group in the region is Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

It said in Wednesday's statement that it had attacked more than 15 security sites and carried out three suicide bombings.

The group had urged its followers to escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which started in mid-June, though it did not specify Egypt as a target.

In a recent tactic, Sinai Province has fired rockets at the direction of an airport used by multinational peacekeeping forces.

In late April, the army extended by three months a state of emergency imposed in parts of Sinai since October after 33 security personnel were killed in an attack claimed by Sinai Province.

Peaceful activism

The army has taken several measures to crush the insurgency. Aside from bombardments in the region, they have destroyed tunnels into the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip and created a security buffer zone in northern Sinai.

The army was also digging a trench along the border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling.

The measures have stoked resentment among some residents, who say they rely on the smuggling trade through the tunnels and complain of neglect by the state.

Tuesday also marked the second anniversary of protests that preceded the overthrow of Morsi.

President Sisi said he would bring in tougher legal measures in coming days after the killing of the prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, the most senior Egyptian official to die in such an attack in years.

Sisi's government does not distinguish between the now-outlawed Brotherhood and other militants. The Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.