MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – A roadside bomb exploded next to an armored vehicle in the Egyptian Governorate of North Sinai, killing seven Egyptian soldiers and injuring four others on Sunday, AFP reports.
The soldiers’ armored vehicle was guarding a gas pipeline, security officials said. An official said responders were still assessing the casualties, according to AFP.
Since the officials were not yet authorized to brief reporters, they spoke on condition of anonymity, the Washington Post reported.
Lately, these attacks have become more frequent. The most recent accident happened three days ago in El Arish, the capital of the region, when a bomb killed two policemen, the Times of Israel reported. Another series of attacks in September killed 17 policemen. The previous attacks were carried out by a group of militants called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the Washington Post reported.
North Sinai is the sparsely-populated northern part of the Sinai Peninsula which is adjacent to Egypt’s Gaza and Israel borders. It has had a surge of Islamic militants who oppose the current regime, and wage regular attacks against government troops, according to the Washington Post.
When the 14-km border between Gaza and North Sinai was closed by the Egyptians in 2007 following the election of Gaza’s Hamas government, a prolonged struggle began between smugglers, who utilized tunnels under the border to smuggle food, weapons and other goods into Gaza, and the Egyptian Army.