Egypt Extends Sinai Emergency Rule

Egypt Extends Sinai Emergency RuleEgypt Extends Sinai Emergency Rule

Egypt extended a state of emergency in parts of the Sinai Peninsula for three months, as a roadside bomb wounded 18 policemen on Sunday in the insurgency-wracked region, security officials said.

The attack happened near El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai Province where the army is battling Islamic State loyalists, according to the officials, who said the policemen were on leave, AFP reported.

Health ministry official Tarek Khater said the wounded were in stable condition in a military hospital in the city.

Egyptian security forces have come under frequent attack in North Sinai since the military toppled the country’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said late Saturday that the extension of the state of emergency for a third time was necessary because of the “dangerous security situation.”

It was originally declared in parts of the peninsula in October following the death of 30 soldiers in an attack close to El-Arish.

The region is a stronghold of the militant group calling itself “Sinai Province,” which in November pledged allegiance to the IS that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The group claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed four soldiers near the border town of Rafah and rocket attack on an Egyptian naval vessel near the coast of Israel and Gaza, less than a week after claiming a bombing in Cairo that heavily damaged the Italian Consulate.