Six Egyptian police officers killed in Sinai attack

Six Egyptian police officers killed in Sinai attack
At least six Egyptian service personnel have been killed in a militant attack in the Sinai, where the military has been fighting an insurgency.
2 min read
19 April, 2016
The ongoing insurgency in Sinai has killed hundreds of soldiers and police [Getty]

At least six Egyptian riot police were killed and 12 injured on Tuesday on the Sinai peninsula, after a police vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, security sources have told The New Arab.

The Interior Ministry released a statement that only three soldiers had been killed in the attack in the town of Sheikh Zuwaid - a local hotbed of insurgency - and that the injured had been taken to hospital.

"Police have inspected the scene of the incident to persue the terrorists that carried out the attack," the police said.

The towns of Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah in North Sinai Governate have recently witnessed a series clashes between the security services and militants thought to belong to the Islamic State group's Egyptian franchise, Wilayat Sinai.

Locals told The New Arab that the army began shelling Sheikh Zuwaid early on Tuesday, and that the attack was a retaliation from the militants.

Egypt is battling an insurgency that gained pace after its military overthrew President Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Egypt has destroyed thousands of family homes in the
northern Sinai to crete a 'buffer zone' along the Gaza border
[click to enlarge]

The insurgency has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and started to attack Western targets within the country.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief who led Morsi's ousting, describes Islamist militancy as an existential threat to Egypt.

IS has again said that it carried out the bombing in October of a Russian airliner over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

Sinai militants pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014. The parent group controls swathes of Iraq and Syria and also has a presence in conflict-ridden Libya.

Human rights groups have accused the Egyptian military of committing numerous abuses in the resulting counter-insurgency.

Last month, the army said that it killed at least 60 IS militants in an air raid on the group's positions in North Sinai. It has also razed the homes of thousands of families in the Rafah area along the border with the Gaza Strip, in a bid to crack down on smuggling through the area's notorious tunnels.