10 Egyptian Police Officers Killed in Sinai Attack, Officials Say

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the Eid al-Fitr attack

Egyptian Muslims gather for the Eid al-Fitr prayer, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, At Cairo's historic Amr Ibn al-Aas mosque on June 5, 2019.
AFP

Islamic militants attacked a checkpoint in Egypt's restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, killing at least 10 policemen, security officials said.

The attack took place as Muslims in the city of el-Arish were holding prayers marking the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the holy month of Ramadan, early in the morning.

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Two officers and eight conscripts were among those killed, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The officials said the militants attacked the checkpoint, south of el-Arish, seized an armored vehicle to make their getaway but a warplane chased them in the desert, killing at least five.

The Interior Ministry later released a statement, saying eight policemen were killed in the attack. The discrepancy between the casualty figures could not immediately be resolved.

Egypt has battled Islamic militants for years in the Sinai Peninsula in an insurgency that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland, striking minority Christians and occasionally tourists.

The insurgency grew deadlier and militant attacks more frequent after the military's 2013 ouster of an elected but divisive Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.

At the center of the campaign is an Islamic State affiliate, based in Sinai. The Egyptian militant group had sworn allegiance to IS at the height of its power in Iraq and Syria in 2014. ISIS has now been mostly defeated and all the territory it once controlled in both Syria and Iraq taken back and liberated.

In Egypt, an all-out campaign by the military since early 2018 has mainly halted high-profile attacks by ISIS and other militants.