Cairo (AsiaNews) – Egyptian security sources said that eight policemen were killed and ten more were seriously wounded this morning in an attack on a security checkpoint in Al-Massaïd, a district in the town of Al-Arich, capital of the northern Sinai governorate.
Medical sources from the local military hospital estimate that the number of deaths could rise, given the serious condition they were brought in.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the authorities believe extremist Islamist groups are the likely culprit, possibly Jihadis linked to the Islamic State (IS), which is very active in the area.
The attack began when terrorists opened fire on the checkpoint, wounding several members of the Civil Protection (fire department). This was followed by a car bomb that killed eight members of the security forces, and wounded another ten.
The explosion severely damaged nearby buildings, and caused the collapse of a small annex to the checkpoint. Terrified residents fled the gunfight and the car bomb.
The Egyptian army responded by setting up roadblocks around the blast site to facilitate the rescue of the wounded who were all taken to the city’s military hospital.
This was the second such attack since the beginning of 2017. An incident on Saturday left four soldiers dead and another four wounded when suspected Islamist terrorists attacked a checkpoint in the central Sinai Peninsula.
Attacks against the security forces and the Egyptian army are frequent in the North Sinai with scores of dead and wounded.
Egypt has been fighting IS terrorists since they became increasingly active in this border area in 2013.