Egyptian army officer killed in Sinai attacks
Egyptian soldiers praying in Sinai. (AFP/File)
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At least one Egyptian army officer has been killed in a militant attack against a security checkpoint in the North African country’s restive Sinai Peninsula.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 26-year-old officer was shot dead on Wednesday as government forces engaged in an exchange of fire with the terrorists following the assault in the border town of Rafah.
The development comes a day after an Egyptian army officer lost his life and six soldiers sustained injuries when a roadside bomb struck an area south of the city of el-Arish, situated 344 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo.
The Egyptian officer, along with the soldiers, was in pursuit of militants in the area when the deadly incident took place.
Earlier on Tuesday, a civilian was killed and 32 people, mostly police officers, were wounded when a bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into a police station in el-Arish.
“The bomber drove a water tanker filled with explosives into the rear gate of the base,” a security official said, adding, “As the vehicle approached, police fired on it, detonating the explosives inside.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the militant group formerly calling itself Ansar Bait al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the region. The group has recently pledged allegiance to Daesh and changed its name to Velayat Sinai.
A state of emergency has been declared in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula since a militant attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint killed more than 30 soldiers in October 2014.
The Egyptian military considers the Sinai Peninsula a safe haven for gunmen, who use the region as a base for their “acts of terror.”
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