Mortar shell preceded by car bomb in Arish attack: investigations
Egyptian armed forces in Sinai - REUTERS

CAIRO: A North Sinai prosecution team has launched an investigation into a Saturday attack on a security checkpoint in Arish that killed 18 policemen, Youm7 quoted security sources Sunday.

First, a car explosion took place,  then the El-Safa checkpoint south of Arish was hit with a mortar shell, causing the casualties among personnel, Youm7 quoted initial investigations.

After listening to security officers and eyewitnesses, investigative authorities looking into the attack claimed the perpetrators belong to the Sinai Province group, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for most of Sinai attacks that left hundreds of deaths among the army and the police.

Interior Ministry Spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel Kareem said that the militant group had claimed responsibility for the attacks via a Twitter account.

Security patrols were deployed across southern part of Arish city, where the attack occurred, and a security plan was declared to secure fixed and mobile checkpoints.

Al-Azhar Institute, the most prestigious religious institution in the Islamic world, has strongly condemned the “contemptible, terrorist” attack, ensuring solidarity with all state institutions, particularly the army and the police, to eliminate terrorism.

The Islamic institution has previously begun a mission to “correct the image” of Islam and counter Islamophobia by sending delegations abroad.

The attack on Saturday is the most recent wide-scale attack on security facilities and personnel in the restive northern tip of the Peninsula. Another one occurred July 1, 2015, killing some 21 soldiers.

In its prolonged fight to purge terrorism in the area, the army has launched series of strikes and crackdowns that resulted in killing and arrest of hundreds of alleged militants.

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