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.
x
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.
Reuters

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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More