Six killed and 11 wounded as Egypt's Sinai faces new surge in violence
A string of attacks in the Sinai peninsula on Monday killed six Egyptians and wounded a further 11, medical sources told Reuters on Monday.
At least 10 attacks were carried out by Islamist militants against police stations and security and army checkpoints in Sinai’s two main northern cities of Rafah and El-Arish near Egypt’s borders with Israel and the Gaza strip .
Two civilians, two army officers and two policemen were killed, Reuters reported.
This was the worst violence the province has seen this month in terms of number of attacks and victims in a single day.
The North Sinai region is always restive, used as a base by hardline Islamists who increased their attacks after the security vacuum created by the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
But attacks on security forces and subsequent reprisals have become almost daily since Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s ouster on July 3.
Security forces at police and army checkpoints have been targeted in the frequent and bloody attacks in North Sinai, as have civilians in an attack last week which killed three cement factory workers.
Egypt’s security forces are stepping up their presence in the region in the wake of the attacks, after Israel gave their approval for the deployment of two battalions in North Sinai to “fight terrorism”, and on July 18 Egyptian military sources claimed to have killed at least 10 jihadists.
Earlier this month, an Egyptian senior military official claimed 40 tunnels connecting Gaza and Sinai were destroyed as part of the effort to crackdown on terrorism in the region.
Analysts have suggested the spike in violence since Mursi’s ouster is evidence of the Islamic extremists trying to take advantage of the political instability in Egypt.