Eight dead in attack on Egyptian police checkpoint in Sinai

Interior ministry says attempted lorry bombing in El Arish was foiled and five attackers killed.

The scene of an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint in El Arish city in the Sinai Peninsula on January 9, 2017. EPA
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EL ARISH, Egypt // At least seven Egyptian policemen and a civilian were killed on Monday when suspected ISIL militants attacked a checkpoint in the northern Sinai peninsula with a lorry bomb.

Security forces killed five of the attackers. Six police officers, six civilians and three militants were injured in the attack in the city of El Arish.

The militants tried to ram the checkpoint with a rubbish lorry filled with explosives, but security forces killed the driver and safely detonated the lorry bomb.

The interior ministry released video footage showing an attacker driving a white rubbish lorry and then slumping over after being shot.

No group has admitted carrying out the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of ISIL’s Sinai affiliate, which has carried out scores of attacks against Egyptian troops and police in recent years.

Other security and medical officials said the lorry bomb had destroyed a nearby police building.

They said at least 10 people were killed, all but one of them police, and 22 others injured, and that more victims might be found under the rubble of the building.

The lorry used in the attack is thought to have been stolen a few days earlier from El Arish municipality and had been reinforced with metal plates, a tactic often used by ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

The interior ministry said another group of militants attacked a second checkpoint in El Arish on Monday, and killed a policeman before fleeing under heavy fire from security forces.

The insurgency in the northern Sinai flared up in 2013 after the military removed former president Mohammed Morsi from office following mass protests against his rule.

* Agencies