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13 Egyptian Police Officers Killed in Mortar Attack by the Islamic State’s Sinai Affiliate

The militant group claimed responsibility and said a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint before the mortar shelling began.
March 19, 2016, 9:01pm
A member of the Egyptian security forces walks by debris of a Russian airplane in the Sinai Peninsula on November 1, 2015. (Photo via AP)

Thirteen police officers were killed on Saturday during a mortar attack on a security checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the country's Interior Ministry said on Saturday. Wilayat Sinai, a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS), has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The incident reportedly took place at a checkpoint south of el-Arish, the province's northern capital. The militant group said a suicide bomber blew himself up at the checkpoint before the mortar shelling began.

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Earlier this week, an Egyptian soldier and police officer were killed during two separate attacks in the northern Sinai peninsula. Gunmen affiliated with Wilayat Sinai shot and killed the officer outside his home in el-Arish. A soldier was also killed by a sniper in Sheikh Zuweid,which is not far from el-Arish.

Militants killed five police during a similar attack on a Sinai checkpoint near el-Arish in January.

Related: Egypt Finally Comes Clean: Terrorists Downed That Russian Plane

Last November, suicide bombers and a gunman killed four people in an attack on a Swiss Inn hotel in el-Arish, another attack that was claimed by the IS affiliate. The group also claimed responsibility for downing a Russian airliner last October, killing all 224 people onboard.

The region has become increasingly unstable the 2011 Egyptian Revolution led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. Militants capitalized on the chaos and power vacuums in the aftermath of the revolution and began an insurgency in Sinai, which was once a popular tourist destination, attacking the governmental infrastructure there.

Militants have also killed hundreds of security personnel, partly in retaliation for the 2013 military coup that overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

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