Militants attack checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai, killing 8

The attack in the city of el-Arish was followed by smaller explosions as militants wearing black masks fired rocket-propelled grenades at the troops around the checkpoint.
  • Last update: 9 January 2017 | 17:18

EL-ARISH, Egypt: Militants attacked an Egyptian police checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula on Monday using a stolen garbage truck packed with explosives, killing at least eight people and setting off clashes with security forces, officials said.

No one immediately claimed the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group's Sinai affiliate, which has carried out scores of attacks against Egyptian troops and police in recent years.

The Interior Ministry said the militants targeted the checkpoint in the city of el-Arish with a garbage truck filled with explosives but that security forces killed the driver and safely detonated the truck bomb. The ministry released footage showing an attacker driving a white garbage truck and then slumping over after being shot.

It said seven police and one civilian were killed, and that security forces killed five of the attackers. Another six police, six civilians and three attackers were wounded in the shootout, the ministry said.

Security and medical officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, said the truck bomb destroyed a nearby police building. They said the attack killed at least 10 people, all but one of them police, and wounded 22, adding that more bodies might be buried in the rubble.

It was not immediately possible to resolve the conflicting accounts. Earlier, the officials said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. They later said the driver exited the vehicle before it blew up.

The officials said militants had stolen the garbage truck and fitted it with metal plates, a tactic often used by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The ministry said another group of militants attacked a second checkpoint in el-Arish, killing a policeman before fleeing under heavy fire from the security forces.

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