Militants detonated an improvised explosive device to target a security convoy near Arish, injuring three people and destroying several army vehicles.

Daesh is waging an insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai.
Daesh is waging an insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai. (AFP)

At least 18 Egyptian policemen were killed and three injured on Monday in an attack on a security convoy in the Sinai Peninsula, which is gripped by an insurgency.

Militants detonated an improvised explosive device near Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, wounding three others including a brigadier general who lost his leg. It also destroyed three armoured vehicles and a signal-jamming vehicle.

Daesh later claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has gained momentum since the military toppled Egypt's democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, following mass protests against his rule in mid-2013.

Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in attacks and operations against the militants since then.

There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry on Monday's attack. State news agency MENA quoted a high-ranking ministry official confirming the attack and casualty figures.

Security forces were exchanging fire with Daesh militants near the explosion site and managed to kill several of them, MENA said.

Four ambulance workers were also injured during the shooting and security forces are pursuing and engaging the militants, the sources said.

Source: Reuters