Explosions ripped through houses belonging to police officers in Arish in Egypt’s North Sinai on Sunday, killing at least three policemen and wounding five civilians.
Arish is the provincial capital of the North Sinai region. Security and medical sources have confirmed the number of wounded people.
According to el-Watan newspaper, the injuries are largely serious. The injured policemen and civilians are currently receiving medical attention in al-Arish General Hospital.
Armed militants planted two bombs in two adjacent houses, both belonging to and inhabited by police personnel, security sources said. The explosions led to the collapse of large parts of the homes.
Egypt has faced a Sinai-based armed insurgency which has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army toppled deposed president Mohamed Morsi, who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The success of Egyptian military counter-terrorism operations in the Sinai has been highly questionable, with attacks frequently continuing to occur. As a result, a curfew has been imposed in the area since last October. That was the month that also witnessed the Karm Al Quadis incident, when 32 Egyptian soldiers in Sheikh Zwayed were killed.
Ansar Bait Al Maqdis, an ISIS affiliate in the Sinai, posted a video claiming responsibility for the attack and showing it in graphic detail.
The Egyptian government has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. However, it recently removed the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood, from its terror list. The government doesn’t differentiate armed groups operating in the Sinai from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi was elected as Egypt’s president in June 2012, making him Egypt’s first democratically elected leader. Cairo’s Criminal Court sentenced him to death for breaking out of jail in 2011, despite deciding to revise a previous death sentence for espionage down to 25 years in prison.
All the verdicts are vulnerable to court appeals, which could lead to reduced sentencing. Morsi is still on trial for one more case involving accusations of espionage and disclosing secrets to the state of Qatar.