ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Two separate bomb attacks targeting security forces in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens on Sunday, the latest in a wave of violence in a region hit by an Islamist insurgency.
Egypt’s military said a roadside bomb detonated by militants killed six soldiers and wounded two others in an attack on an armored military vehicle in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Two of those killed were officers, it said.
The army said in a statement that “terrorist and extremist elements” were behind the blast and that two of those killed were officers.
A Twitter feed that describes itself as the official account for Sinai Province, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack.
North Sinai is the epicenter of an insurgency that has killed hundreds of members of the security services since mid-2013, when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule. Sisi was overwhelmingly elected president last year.
Later on Sunday, a car bomb targeting a police station in the city of al-Arish, the capital of the North Sinai governorate, killed at least seven people and wounded 44 others, medical sources said, adding that both civilians and members of the security services were among the casualties.
The Interior Ministry said five police officers and one civilian were killed in the explosion, which it described on its official Facebook page as a suicide attack.
The explosion caused heavy material damage, blowing in windows and doors, sources in the city said, adding military helicopters were flying over the area.
The Sinai Province Twitter account also claimed responsibility for the attack.
Gunmen also attacked a checkpoint near Rafah, along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, wounding at least three soldiers, medical and security sources said.
Sinai Province, previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has claimed other deadly attacks on soldiers in the Sinai.
It renamed itself last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the ultra-radical Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing U.S.-led air strikes.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Mostafa Hashem in Cairo; Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Evans