Egyptian security personnel were rocked Friday by a car bomb that exploded in the Sinai Peninsula. A security source has indicated that the violence in the region have reached levels not seen since the overthrowing of Islamist President Mursi last year.
Early Friday, Reuters reported that 10 members of the Egyptian security personnel had been killed by the attack northwest of al-Arish in the al-Kjarouba region near the Gaza Strip border. Quickly, as the day has progressed, news agencies have expanded on the amount of the casualty numbers, with some reports stating that as many as 25 people died from the blast from the car bomb.
Medical personnel are anticipating the casualty list to increase due to the fact that many wounded in the blast suffered critical injuries. That may account for the ever-changing numbers of casualties from different media sources and will likely continue to change throughout the weekend.
Reuters reported that hours after the car bomb attack, three people were killed at a checkpoint in the town of al-Arish when gunmen opened fire. At the present time, no group has claimed responsibility for the gunfire or car bomb attack that has rocked the Egyptian security personnel in the Sinai Peninsula. Previous similar attack has typically been attributed to the militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqsis.
The car bomb, which early on received some conflicting reports of what actually happened, targeted two armored vehicles that were at a checkpoint near an Egyptian army installation. An early report from a Sinai-based official indicated that the attack was a rocket-propelled grenade and not a car bomb.
The Egyptian National Defense Council was called by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to a emergency meeting about the attacks that his office has labeled a terrorist attack. The National Defense Council have been watching the events over the last year on the Sinai Peninsula with great concern. Earlier in the week, a roadside bomb near the town of al-Arish killed six soldiers. These attacks have been a way of life for Egypt and the Sinai region that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other government officials have been working tirelessly to stop. The military had made some encouraging progress in stopping the insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, however, concerns have grown that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may be connected to the individuals behind the chaos overtaking the area.
The idea of ISIS being connected to the radical Islamist groups in Egypt may bring into the U.S. led coalition of countries looking to end the terror by ISIS. At this time, Egypt backs the U.S. coalition against ISIS, but has not joined in the action. If ISIS is in Egypt, to avoid similar terror that has faced the Kurdish areas of Syria and Iraq, Egypt may join in the fight with the U.S. and other nations intent on stopping the Islamic terrorists.
It remains to be seen what the final death toll of Egyptian security personnel will be from the car bomb that rocked the Sinai Peninsula, and if it may push President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to add his country to the coalition against ISIS. If ISIS has spread to the Sinai Peninsula and tied in with the Sinai insurgents, the actual reach of the terrorist group may be much larger than originally thought.
By Carl Auer