Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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Gunmen target Egyptian truck convoy

Egyptian convoy attackedSuspected militants shot and killed at least nine truck drivers in Egypt’s Sinai region when they targeted a transport convoy, setting the vehicles on fire, medical and security sources said.

Egypt’s security forces have since 2014 been battling an Islamic State affiliate in northern Sinai, where militants have mostly hit police and soldiers but also targeted infrastructure and businesses.

Two security sources in al-Arish, the area capital, said armed men attacked the convoy, carrying coal to a cement factory.

The bodies of the truck drivers were taken to the morgue of Suez public hospital, four medical sources said.

A military spokesman said there was no official statement. An interior ministry official did not respond to a request for information.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

“They have threatened us repeatedly, asking that we don’t work for the army’s companies. We informed factory management of the threats and asked them for more protection,” a local truck driver, Ismail Abdel-Raouf, told Reuters.

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed since the insurgency quickened pace in northern Sinai after the 2013 ousting by the military of then-president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood during massive protests against his rule.

A home-grown jihadist group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, declared allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and has tried to spread outside the peninsula targeting Christians with attacks on churches on the mainland.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who presents himself as a bulwark against militants in the Middle East, said Islamic State fighters might try to enter Libya and Egypt after their defeats in Iraq and Syria.

Security forces have also faced attacks in the western desert region bordering Libya, where security sources say a former Egyptian special forces officer turned jihadist allied to al Qaeda was responsible for an ambush on a police operation last month.

 
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