Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1272, (26 November - 2 December 2015)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1272, (26 November - 2 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Explosion in the north

Explosion in the north
Explosion in the north
Al-Ahram Weekly

AT LEAST seven people, including a judge, prosecutor, four policemen and a civilian, were killed and 17 others were wounded on Tuesday after an attack in  Al-Arish in the North Sinai governorate, at the Swiss Inn Hotel, where judges overseeing the parliamentary elections were staying. A suicide bomber tried to ram his car into a hotel as security forces opened fire. The car exploded, killing the bomber.

The Islamic State-affiliated militant group in North Sinai, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the attack.  

According to a military statement, a second blast reportedly shook the area about 10 minutes later. Another attacker wearing an explosive belt sneaked into the hotel’s kitchen and blew himself up, while a gunman went up to one of the hotel’s rooms and opened fire, killing the judge.

Immediately after the explosion, ambulances as well as police forces rushed to the scene and gunshots could be heard following the explosion. A main coastal highway in the city was shut down following the attack.

The wounded were transferred to Al-Arish public hospital and a nearby military hospital.

The Justice Ministry issued a press release stating that prosecutor Amr Mustafa was among those killed. An army statement confirmed the attacks killed at least two police conscripts and injured security forces.

“This brutal attack is considered a desperate attempt to hinder the state,” said army spokesman Mohamed Samir in the statement. “We emphasise that this incident will not thwart the persistence and determination of the police and armed forces to uproot terrorism in North Sinai forever.”

Voters across 13 governorates including North Sinai went to the polls this week to elect a new parliament, part of Egypt’s roadmap to democracy put in place by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

Since the ousting of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt has been fighting an Islamist militant insurgency in North Sinai. Over the past two years, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, some of which targeted judges in Al-Arish.

Islamist militants, who have primarily targeted security forces since the removal of Morsi, have in recent months targeted several judges amid the conviction of many Morsi supporters in terror-related cases.

In June, Egypt’s top prosecutor Hisham Barakat died from injuries sustained in a Cairo bomb attack.

In March, a small bomb was left in front of the house of judge Fathi Bayoumi who investigated the corruption charges against Mubarak-era interior minister Habib Al-Adli. The words “a gift for Al-Adli’s acquittal” were scribbled on a wall near the attack.

Two months earlier, a bomb attack targeting judge Khaled Mahgoub, who is representing the general prosecution in Morsi’s jailbreak trial, caused damage to the windows and walls of his home.

Islamic State announced its responsibility for a bomb that downed a Russian airliner that killed all 224 on board over Sinai last month.

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