Middle East

Egyptian police killed in Sinai bomb attack

Map of North Sinai

At least 11 policemen have been killed in a bomb attack on a convoy in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, officials say.

Two others when injured when a device exploded as they travelled through the village of Wefaq, near the Gaza border.

Security forces have been carrying out an offensive in northern Sinai, killing and capturing dozens of suspected members of jihadist militant groups.

Militants have stepped up attacks on soldiers and police since the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi last year.

An al-Qaeda-linked group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings and shootings.

It says it is avenging the hundreds of Islamists killed and thousands detained in a crackdown on Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Beheadings

On Sunday, six militants were killed in a raid by troops in Wefaq and a leading member of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis died in clashes in el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.

Three days earlier, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis had announced that it had beheaded four Egyptian civilians whose bodies were found in August.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed by Islamist militants in the past year

The group accused them of providing Israel with intelligence for an air strike that killed three of its fighters in late July.

A video published online showed armed, masked men standing over four captives as a statement was read out. They were then decapitated.

The footage was reminiscent of videos of killings posted by Islamic State (IS), which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is not believed to be linked to IS, but its spiritual leader Abu Osama al-Masri recently called on God to ensure his "brothers" in IS were victorious.

In an unrelated incident on Tuesday, nine people were killed in a stampede outside a military academy north-east of the capital, Cairo.

A military statement expressing condolences said the stampede occurred after relatives of cadets crowded around the gates of the complex in Ismailia in violation of regulations for visitors.

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