A bomb explosion killed an Egyptian colonel and three soldiers in North Sinai on Wednesday as their armored vehicle passed by, security officials and emergency services said.

 

The device was detonated from a distance as the vehicle was engaged in a search operation on the outskirts of provincial capital El-Arish, the officials said.

 

Another 12 soldiers were wounded in the blast, they added.

 

Jihadists, including from an Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group (IS), have regularly attacked security forces in the peninsula since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

 

Militants say their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown targeting Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands imprisoned.

 

The authorities say hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed in attacks, mainly in North Sinai, since 2013, although there have also been attacks in the Nile Delta and in Cairo.

 

Egypt’s branch of IS also said it planted a bomb that caused the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai in October, killing 224 people.

 

 

 

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