At least 11 Egyptian soldiers were killed when a car bomb hit their bus in the Sinai Peninsula, in the latest attack on security forces battling insurgents.
About 34 others were wounded when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into one of two buses carrying off-duty soldiers, Mohamed Rady, a police officer at the North Sinai Security Directorate, said today by phone, citing preliminary investigations. The soldiers were traveling from the border town of Rafah to Cairo, he said.
Violence has surged in Egypt since the army deposed the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Mursi, on July 3. At least 25 members of the security forces were killed in an ambush in August, and gunmen have carried out near-daily attacks on checkpoints in the region since.
An Islamist militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, is suspected of carrying out the attack in retaliation for the killing of three of its leaders by security forces, state-run Ahram Gate reported, citing an unidentified security official.
The armed forces will continue to fight “sinister terrorism and eradicate the champions of darkness, sedition and extremism,” army spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said on the military’s official Facebook page.
The struggle against Sinai militants, with its echoes of a campaign against Islamist insurgents in the 1990s, coincides with the military-backed interim government’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled Mursi to power.
Many Brotherhood leaders, including the ousted president, have been detained and face charges including murder. Security forces have killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Mursi supporters, in clashes since August.
In the latest outbreak of violence, two people died yesterday, the Health Ministry said, when security forces scuffled with protesters in Cairo at rallies commemorating 45 people who died in a 2011 confrontation with security forces.
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