Third attack in Egypt kills police officer in Suez city, toll rises to 27 -medical, security sources

A third attack by suspected Islamist militants in Egypt killed a police officer in Suez city, raising the death toll from the three attacks to 27, medical and security sources said on Thursday.

The roadside bomb in Suez followed a bomb attack on security buildings in Al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province and another attack on a security checkpoint in Rafah in the province. 

The officials said Thursday’s attacks included at least one car bomb set off outside a military base and mortar rounds fired at a hotel, a police club and more than a dozen checkpoints. At least 36 people were wounded in the attack, according to medical officials, who also confirmed the death toll.
Officials said the death toll is expected to rise after the military base hit by the car bomb was also struck by mortars that destroyed buildings inside the camp, burying people under the rubble.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The state news agency MENA said more than one car bomb was used in the attacks, without elaborating.
The explosions smashed windows and shook residential areas in el-Arish.
The areas where the attacks took place have been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when militants killed dozens of soldiers in a deadly attack on a checkpoint in Sinai.
In an attempt to stop weapons smuggling to and from the Gaza Strip, authorities demolished houses and residential buildings located within 500 meters of the border, where a complex network of tunnels had long been used to bring consumer goods, as well as weapons and fighters, to and from the Palestinian territory.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was initially inspired by al-Qaida, but last year it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Sinai-based militants have exploited long-held grievances in the impoverished north of the peninsula, where the mainly Bedouin population has complained of neglect by Cairo authorities and where few have benefited from the famed tourist resorts in the more peaceful southern part of Sinai. The police in northern Sinai largely fled during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, as militants attacked their stations and killed scores of security forces.
Egypt has a long history of Islamic militancy. Former President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic militants in 1981, and extremists carried out a wave of attacks targeting security forces, Christians and Western tourists during the 1990s.

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