Two bomb attacks on Sunday claimed by Egyptian jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group killed at least 14 people in the restive Sinai Peninsula, including 11 security personnel.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has carried out a slew of attacks in Sinai since the army’s ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, claimed responsibility.
A roadside bomb attack on an army vehicle killed six soldiers and wounded two near the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, a jihadist stronghold.
“An armored personnel carrier for the army of the apostates was destroyed... killing and wounding all aboard,” Ansar Beit al-Madqis said on a Twitter account attributed to it.
The military said six soldiers were killed in the attack.
“Their vehicle was targeted by an explosive device placed by the extremist terrorist elements which left an officer, a sergeant and four soldiers martyred, and two other soldiers wounded,” the military said on its Facebook page.
Hours later a suicide car bomb targeting a police station in North Sinai’s provincial capital of El-Arish killed eight people and wounded 45, Egyptian health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Gaffar said.
The interior ministry said in a separate statement that five police officers and a civilian were among those killed in the police station bombing, while several police officers were wounded.
It said security forces fired at the vehicle before it was able to ram the police station.
A police officer said the truck was loaded with explosives, but covered with straw, and it blew up close to the police station.
“A den of the apostate police was targeted in El-Arish by a car bomb driven by a martyr,” Ansar Beit al-Maqdis said.
The group changed its name last year to the Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
It has claimed several sophisticated attacks in Sinai and the Nile valley and now wants to establish a province of the self-declared Islamic State “caliphate.”
Also on Sunday, an army captain and two soldiers were wounded in an attack on a checkpoint near the town of Rafah that borders the Gaza Strip.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis said one of its snipers shot at them.
The army has sent troops and armor to fight a dogged insurgency in Sinai that has grown since army chief President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ousted his Islamist predecessor Morsi.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis says attacks on the security forces are in retaliation for a government crackdown on Morsi’s supporters that has left hundreds dead.
Thousands more have been imprisoned and dozens sentenced to death.
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