News / Middle East

Attack on Army Convoy Kills 11 in Egypt's Sinai

FILE - Army soldiers stand guard in their military vehicle in central Cairo, August 30, 2014.FILE - Army soldiers stand guard in their military vehicle in central Cairo, August 30, 2014.
FILE - Army soldiers stand guard in their military vehicle in central Cairo, August 30, 2014.
FILE - Army soldiers stand guard in their military vehicle in central Cairo, August 30, 2014.

An attack on a convoy killed 11 members of the Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, security and medical sources said.

Two were killed by a roadside bomb and the others were shot as they tried to flee, the security sources said. Security sources said earlier that the attack killed 10 soldiers.

Militants in Sinai have stepped up attacks on policemen and soldiers since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.

Sisi was elected president three months ago and his government makes no distinction between the Brotherhood -- which says it is a peaceful movement -- and the Sinai militants.

The attacks initially targeted security forces in Sinai -- a remote but strategic part of Egypt located between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal -- but they have since extended their reach, with bombings on the mainland.

The violence has hurt tourism, a pillar of the economy.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb condemned Tuesday's attack and said Egypt would continue to confront terrorism. “The world has witnessed now what the hands of terrorism are doing in our country,” he said in a statement. “Terrorism will not succeed in breaking the will of Egyptians.”

The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis said in August it had beheaded four Egyptians, accusing them of providing Israel with intelligence for an air strike that killed three of its fighters.

Egyptian security forces have launched several offensives in Sinai in a bid to eliminate Ansar, widely regarded as the country's most dangerous militant group.

Chaos in Libya, meanwhile, has allowed militants to set up makeshift training camps only a few kilometers from Egypt's border, according to Egyptian security officials.

The militants, those officials say, harbor ambitions similar to the al-Qaida breakaway group, Islamic State, that has seized large swaths of Iraq; they want to topple Sisi and create a caliphate in Egypt.

In July, gunmen killed 21 Egyptian military border guards near the frontier with Libya, highlighting a growing threat from an area that security officials say has become a militant haven.

The Sinai insurgency has shown how even a small number of militants can mount a challenge to the Egyptian state. Ansar has killed hundreds of people and proved resilient in the face of army offensives, yet Sinai residents say its core amounts to only a few hundred militants.

Any alliance between Ansar and the militants near the Libyan border could pose big problems for Egypt, which is aching for stability after three years of unrest since the start of the  Arab uprisings. Members of Ansar say contacts between the two groups have already been established.

Islamists and the Egyptian state are old enemies. Islamist-leaning army officers assassinated President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981, mainly because of his peace treaty with Israel; and former President Hosni Mubarak fought insurgents in the 1990s.

But the lightning seizure of large swaths of Iraq by Islamic State has added to the sense of urgency in combating militants along Egypt's border with Libya and in the Sinai.

You May Like

Map Shows Every US School Shooting Since 2013

There have been at least 150 school shootings in the United States since 2013, an average of nearly one per week More

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs