CAIRO, July 17, 2013Gunmen shot dead a policeman on Wednesday in el-Arish, in Egypt’s restive Sinai peninsula, medical sources said.
Gunmen shot dead a policeman on Wednesday in el-Arish, in Egypt’s restive Sinai peninsula, medical sources said.
The militants opened fire on the police conscript who was standing outside a police station in north Sinai’s main town, hitting him in the neck before fleeing in their vehicle.
The victim died instantly, the sources said.
This latest deadly attack in the increasingly lawless region, home to Egypt’s luxury Red Sea resorts, came as Egyptian troops massed for an offensive against Islamist militants there.
Earlier, gunmen attacked two security checkpoints near el-Arish, including one at the airport, according to the MENA state news agency. There were no casualties reported.
And in the border town of Rafah, militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at a checkpoint, wounding six police and two civilians, security sources said.
The latest batch of Egyptian military reinforcements arrived in Sinai on Wednesday, MENA reported, a day after Israel gave Egypt the go-ahead to deploy two battalions to the region to “fight terrorism.”
Deployments in the Sinai are restricted by the 1979 peace treaty between the two neighbors.
Since the military coup that toppled Islamist president Mohamed Mursi on July 3 after massive nationwide protests, militant groups have launched almost daily attacks on troops and police in Sinai.
Several members of the security forces have died in the unrest, as well as two Egyptian Christians, one of whom was found decapitated five days after being kidnapped.
At dawn on Monday, three workers from a cement factory were killed in an attack on the bus in which they were travelling in El-Arish.
Analysts have said the Sinai violence could be down to Islamist extremists seeking to take advantage of the political insecurity in the country after Mursi’s ouster.