Car bomb in Sinai Peninsula kills 10 Egyptian troops

While Islamic State-affiliated terrorists have operated in the Sinai region for years, no terror group immediately took responsibility for a recent attack there.

A car bomb followed by fierce gunfire was unleashed on a military checkpoint in the northeastern Sinai Peninsula on Friday, leaving 10 Egyptian security troops dead, including a special forces colonel, in addition to wounding at least 20 others, authorities said.

The officials said the blitz started when a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a checkpoint at a military compound in the southern Rafah village of el-Barth, followed by heavy gunfire from dozens of masked militants on foot.

The dead included a high ranking special forces officer, Col. Ahmed el-Mansi, with at least 20 others wounded in the attack. Ambulance sirens could be heard from a distance as they rushed to the attack site.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Egypt in recent years has been battling a stepped-up insurgency in northern Sinai, mainly by militants from Islamic State-affiliated groups.

Army spokesman Tamer el-Rifai declined to immediately comment when reached by the Associated Press.

Over the past months, IS has focused its attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority and carried out at least four deadly attacks that killed dozens, prompting army chief-turned-President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to declare a state of emergency in the country.

The Sinai branch of the Islamic State group appears to be the most resilient outside of Syria and Iraq, where the so-called “caliphate” is witnessing its demise. The group’s offshoot in Libya has been uprooted in months-long battles in the central city of Sirte, while its branch in Yemen has failed to seize territories or compete with its al-Qaida rivals.

By: AP