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Sinai terrorists kill 18 cops

An Egyptian policeman stands guard on Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Jan. 25. (Reuters)
JEDDAH: Militants attacked a security convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 18 policemen in a blast and a gunbattle on Monday, sources quoted by Reuters said.
The attackers detonated an improvised explosive device, managing to destroy three armored vehicles and a signal-jamming vehicle near Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.
The attack turned into a gunfight with the militants also opening fire on ambulance workers, injuring four.
At least 18 policemen, two of them officers, died, and a brigadier general lost a leg in the blast, several sources at Arish hospital said.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted by its news agency Amaq.
The prime minister’s office called the attack a “traitorous incident.”
“Prime Minister Sherif Ismail affirmed the state’s determination to fight these criminal actions that target the safety and will of citizens with its full force,” a government statement said.
The violence comes on the back of recent attacks, the bloodiest of which saw 23 Egyptian soldiers killed when car bombs tore through two military checkpoints in North Sinai in July. It was one of the deadliest assaults on security forces in years
Saudi Arabia condemned the attack in strongest possible terms.
An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry offered condolences to the relatives of the victims and expressed hope for the quick recovery of the injured.
The source underlined the Kingdom’s stand with Egypt against terrorism and extremism.
According to Egyptian author and journalist Abdel Latif El-Menawy, the government and public should expect more terror attacks.
“There is a constant need to develop security measures and methods of combating terrorism, and this is in line with an effort to convince the community members to be participants with the government in its effort to fight terrorism,” he told Arab News from Cairo.
“After the Muslim Brotherhood caused the displacement of thousands of terrorists to Egypt, and the entry of large (number of) arms to Egypt with knowledge and supervision at the time they were governing Egypt, Sinai became the center (for) these terrorists,” he said.
“What happened today confirms that terrorism in all its forms (is) one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
“Therefore, there is a need to help Egypt in its war against terrorism and to (go after) the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of (these) acts of terrorism, whether they are states or organizations.”
Malek Awny, managing editor of Al-Ahram Foundation’s Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya (International Politics Journal), said the attack should be looked at in the context of top Hamas leaders’ visit to Cairo.
According to Awny, the message that Sinai is not secure suits Israel as it scares Egypt into not opening up to Hamas.
“We have to investigate Israeli role in this attack,” he told Arab News. “The attack is an attempt to sabotage the ongoing rapprochement between Hamas government in Gaza and Egypt.”
He added that Egypt will have to continue its work against terror groups.
“We have to enhance our regional efforts with our Arab allies to confront the regional network that provides finance and media support to such terror groups,” said Awny.
“Because this threat is not limited to Egypt but all Arab countries, the region and the world.”

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