EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — A roadside bomb ripped apart an armored police vehicle travelling in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, killing 11 policemen, including an officer, security and medical officials said.
The security officials said the bomb appeared to have been detonated by remote control, and it went off as the police vehicle was driving through the village of el-Wefaq near the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip.
A medical official says the explosion also wounded two officers. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The Egyptian military, aided by police forces, has been carrying out an offensive in the northern Sinai region, a militant stronghold where it has killed and captured dozens of suspects in recent months.
The country has for years been battling an Islamic insurgency in the area, one which dramatically escalated after the military's ouster last July of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and its subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
An al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a series of explosions and suicide attacks over the past year, mostly targeting police and military. The group claimed it was avenging the crackdown on protesters and Islamists.
On Sunday, troops raided the village of el-Wefaq, killing six militants. Also on Sunday, a leading member of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was killed during clashes with security forces in el-Arish, the provincial capital of northern Sinai.