Egypt: 12 dead in Isis attack on security checkpoint in central Sinai

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The Independent Online

An Isis attack has left at least 12 people dead at a security checkpoint in Egypt, marking a possible spread of violence on the Sinai peninsula.

The attack took place around 40 km (25 miles) away from the town of Bir al-Abd, and was conducted by heavily armed militants, medical and security sources said.

It was not immediately clear whether the victims belonged to the military, the police, or a joint force. Eight others were wounded.

Though the Egyptian authorities have been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai peninsula since 2011, the attack on Friday was one of the deadliest this year.

The Reuters news agency reports that it is the first major attack targetting the central part of the North Sinai province, an area which has so far escaped a campaign of Islamist attacks.

The wounded were taken to a hospital in al-Arish, the surrounding area of which has itself been the scene of intense fighting and Egyptian military air strikes in recent weeks.

Sinai's Islamist insurgency gained in strength after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, by the military in 2013.

The militant group staging the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and changed its name from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis to Sinai Province. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen, and has started to target Western targets within Egypt.

Additional reporting by agencies




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