Egypt extends state of emergency in Sinai amid relentless violence
CAIRO - Egypt extended a state of emergency in parts of the Sinai Peninsula for three months, as a roadside bomb attack claimed by Islamic State jihadists wounded 18 policemen Sunday in the insurgency-wracked region.
The attack happened near El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province where the army is battling IS loyalists, according to security officials, who said the policemen were on leave.
Health ministry official Tarek Khater said the wounded were in a stable condition in a military hospital in the city.
IS's Egyptian affiliate claimed the attack.
"After the apostate government extended the state of emergency and curfew in El-Arish, soldiers of the caliphate managed to blow up a bus transporting a number of the apostate police," the group said in a statement on IS-affiliated Twitter accounts.
Egyptian security forces have come under frequent attacks claimed by IS jihadists in North Sinai since the military toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said late Saturday that the extension of the state of emergency for a third time was necessary because of the "dangerous security situation".
It was originally declared in parts of the peninsula in October following the death of 30 soldiers in an attack close to El-Arish.
The region is a stronghold of jihadist Sinai Province group, which in November pledged allegiance to IS.
Hundreds of Egyptian police and soldiers have been killed in attacks. The military says it has killed more than 1,000 jihadists in the Sinai since Morsi's ouster.