Egyptian officer and four conscripts killed in Sinai attack

Egyptian officer and four conscripts killed in Sinai attack
Militants killed an army officer and four conscripts in the centre of Arish city in north Sinai, in a brazen early morning assault on Thursday.
2 min read
21 January, 2016
The check point was attacked early on Thursday [AFP]

An Egyptian army officer and four conscripts were killed in an early morning militant attack in the north Sinai city of Arish on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses said the five military personnel were attacked a short time after arriving in an armoured military vehicle and setting up a checkpoint close to al-Atlawi Square in the centre of Arish city.

Intense gunfire was heard at the scene, which ended with the death of military personnel manning the checkpoint. The assailants, who are thought to be members of the Islamic Sate group, escaped in an armoured vehicle.

Eyewitnesses said the officer was a member of the Egyptian army's Special Forces.

Arbitrary security raids in the local area followed the attack, according to residents of al-Atlawi neighbourhood.

The attack is the first of its kind where militants engage Egyptian security forces in gun battles then retreat, as most militant assaults in the past have used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or suicide bombers.

Egyptian authorities have been facing a growing Islamist insurgency in North Sinai since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The governorate has become the scene of frequent clashes between militants and the Egyptian armed forces, which have launched an intensified counter-insurgency crackdown.