EL-ARISH: A roadside bomb struck an armored personnel carrier in the turbulent north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, killing an army colonel and three soldiers, Egyptian security and health officials said.
The officials said the blast just south of the coastal city of el-Arish wounded another 12 soldiers, several of whom were in critical condition. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Egypt has for years been fighting a Sinai-based Islamic insurgency. The attacks have grown more frequent and deadlier since July 2013, when President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, then the defense minister, led the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader.
The insurgency has also spilled over into mainland Egypt, with a series of high-profile assassinations and bombings taking place in Cairo, the capital.
More recently, the militants have targeted Egypt’s vital tourism industry, attacking a hotel near the Giza Pyramids and another in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada. No one was harmed in the first attack but three tourists, two Austrians and a Swede, were wounded in the second.
A local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai, which killed all 224 people on board. Moscow said the plane was downed by an explosive device smuggled on board.
The crash dealt a major blow to tourism, prompting Russia to cancel all flights to Egypt and Britain to suspend flights to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, from where the Russian aircraft had taken off.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.