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18 Egyptian Police Killed in Sinai Ambush | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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At least 18 policemen were killed in a militant ambush in Egypt’s Sinai. (AFP)

Eighteen members of the police force were killed on Monday when militants ambushed a convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Seven others were wounded in the attack, said security and military officials.

The attack started with roadside bombs that destroyed and set ablaze four armored vehicles and a fifth one carrying signal jamming equipment. The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck.

Among those killed were two police lieutenants. The wounded included a police brigadier general.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of ISIS.

The attack took place about 30 kilometers (nearly 19 miles) west of al-Arish in northern Sinai, the epicenter of a long-running insurgency now led by the terrorist group.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry on Monday’s attack. State news agency MENA quoted a high ranking ministry official confirming the attack and casualty figures.

Security forces were exchanging fire with militants near the explosion site and managed to kill several of them, MENA said.

Monday’s attack was the deadliest against security forces since July, when ISIS terrorists attacked a remote army outpost in the border town of Rafah, killing 23 soldiers. That was the deadliest attacks in two years.

In March, the military said militants killed 10 soldiers during an army raid in Sinai’s central region.

Egypt has battled militants in Sinai for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi. In recent years there has also been a wave of attacks, mainly targeting security forces, blamed on a splinter faction of Morsi’s banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Monday’s attack came a day after authorities said they had busted an extremist cell planning attacks in Cairo.

Police said they killed 10 extremists in two simultaneous raids on apartments in a densely populated Cairo neighborhood. They said the militants sneaked into the capital from northern Sinai.