At least six conscripts injured in security checkpoints' attack in North Sinai - security sources

Saturday 31-01-2015 10:14 PM
At least six conscripts injured in security checkpoints' attack in North Sinai - security sources

A security checkpoint in Rafah on the borders, August 2012 - Reuters


CAIRO, Jan 31 (Aswat Masriya) - At least six conscripts were injured late Saturday when militants attacked three security checkpoints in North Sinai's border town of Rafah, security sources said.

The militants are believed to belong to Egypt's most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the sources added. They opened heavy fire at the three checkpoints before fleeing the scene, according to the sources.

At least 30 people were killed and 50 others were injured late Thursday in four separate attacks against security installations in the governorate.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt is in a "difficult, strong and evil confrontation" which will take a long time to be resolved, in his first national address after the attacks.

The statement came following Sisi's meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) today morning.

Sisi cut short his trip to Ethiopia on Friday after the attacks. The president was heading an Egyptian delegation attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Addressing the Thursday attack on Friday, Sisi had said Egypt is "paying the price" for fighting terrorism and extremism. The president reiterated his statement during Saturday's address, which was broadcast on state television.

The meeting between Sisi and the SCAF was held to discuss "military and security details", a military source said.

Shortly after the meeting, the SCAF announced a presidential decree establishing a unified army command east of the Suez Canal "to fight terrorism".

Thursday's attacks are the deadliest since last October, when at least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide operation which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid on October 24, 2014.

Following the October attack, Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and a night-time curfew in parts of Sinai. The curfew was extended for three more months last week; it is due to last until April 25.

Egypt's cabinet also issued a decision to clear 500 metres of Sinai's border area to create a "buffer zone", in response to the October attack. The area was doubled to 1,000 metres in November, 2014.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for Thursday's deadly attacks, as well as last October's attack. The group changed its name to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq last November.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Sinai, as well as other parts of the country, since the military ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.

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