SHAFAQNA – A car bomb killed 10 Egyptian soldiers and wounded 27 others in an attack by suspected jihadists on an army checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday, security officials said. The sources, revising an earlier death toll of five, said the attack took place near El-Arish, the main town in the restive north Sinai.
Jihadists based in the Sinai have killed scores of policemen and soldiers since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Last Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded near an armoured vehicle guarding a gas pipeline in north Sinai, killing seven soldiers.
In September, militants killed 17 policemen in Sinai in two bombings and later released footage of the attacks.
Those bombings were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most active militant group in Egypt. It tried to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo last year with a car bomb.
The group has expressed support for Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in Iraq and Syria, although it has not formally pledged its allegiance.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief who overthrew Morsi and later won elections, has pledged to eradicate the militants.
The military has said it killed at least 22 militants in October, including a local Ansar Beit al-Maqdis commander.
The group itself has acknowledged the arrest or deaths of its cadres, but so far the army has been unable to quell the militants despite a massive operation in which it has deployed attack helicopters and tanks.
The militants sometimes operate openly in north Sinai, setting up impromptu checkpoints and handing out leaflets.
They say they target policemen and soldiers to avenge a bloody police crackdown on Islamists after Morsi’s overthrow that killed hundreds in street clashes and imprisoned thousands more.