Suicide bomber kills 1, wounds 24 in Egypt's Sinai

Suicide bomber kills 1, wounds 24 in Egypt's Sinai

A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into a police base in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, killing a civilian and wounding 24 policemen, security and health officials said.

The attack took place in the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish, minutes after a nighttime curfew was lifted at 6:00 am (0400 GMT). Militants have stepped up attacks in the peninsula since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

"The bomber drove a water tanker filled with explosives into the rear gate of the base," a security official said. "As the vehicle approached, police fired on it, detonating the explosives inside."

Tuesday's attack came a day after three Egyptian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb east of El-Arish. The city has seen repeated deadly attacks on security forces.

In January, a combined rocket and car bomb attack on a military base, a nearby police headquarters and a residential complex for army and police officers in El-Arish killed at least 24 people, most of them soldiers.

The nighttime curfew is among a raft of security measures that have been in force in North Sinai since a late October attack on a military base near the city killed 30 soldiers.

The army has also been clearing a buffer zone along the province's border with the Gaza Strip to prevent militants infiltrating from the Palestinian territory.

The rugged peninsula is the base of the Islamic State group's Egyptian affiliate, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem), which has claimed the majority of attacks in the region.

The army reports daily clashes with militants in North Sinai, and in February it said that joint police and army operations had killed 172. Late last year, Washington delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt to boost its campaign against the Sinai militants.

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