Report: Sinai gunmen fire on police car, killing three

Three Egyptian policemen die when gunmen fired on their car in al-Arish before escaping, according to security sources; violence follows increasing lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula.

November 3, 2012 16:22
1 minute read.
An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai

An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai 311 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)


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ISMAILIA - Three Egyptian policemen died on Saturday when gunmen fired on their car in the northern Sinai Peninsula city of al-Arish before escaping, security sources said.

Two policemen died at the scene of the attack on the suburbs of al-Arish, the administrative center of North Sinai, while one of the other two injured died at the hospital later after the attack, medical and security sources said.

A police source said the attackers were probably Islamist militants who Egyptian forces have been hunting - the biggest security crackdown the region near Israel has seen in decades - following the killing of 16 border guards on August 5.

The August 5 attack - the deadliest in Sinai since Egypt's 1973 war with Israel - prompted the government to send in hundreds of troops backed by tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters in a joint operation with police to raid militant hideouts, arrest suspects and seize weapons.

Security in the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula continued to be a pressing issue in both Egypt and Israel this week, with threats to both countries from the al-Qaida-affiliated Salafist jihadi groups who have found fertile breeding grounds in Sinai since the Egyptian revolution.

On Thursday, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party demanded law enforcement authorities move to regain control of security in Sinai – following a week of reports of terrorist activity in the troubled peninsula.

Over the past months, al-Qaida-linked groups have conducted a series of deadly terrorist attacks against both Egyptian and Israeli interests on the border, including the September 21 shootout that killed 20-year-old Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities’ arrest last week of a terror cell in Nasr City suspected to be linked to al-Qaida has heightened fears in both countries that extremists are expanding out of Sinai and into other areas of Egypt.

Those fears are also bolstered by increasing efforts by al-Qaida to align itself with extremist Salafist and jihadi elements across the Arab world, including Egypt.

Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.

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