Police forces detonated a car bomb in North Sinai on Tuesday after evacuating the area, while the armed forces continued nationwide counterinsurgency operations.
Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said the car bomb contained half a ton of explosive materials. A statement by the ministry said a security patrol found a “suspicious car” left at the side of the road in Al-Arish. It was inspected by police forces and bomb experts, and was found to contain explosive materials.
Police detonated the bomb from a distance. Abdel Latif said four people at a distance from the explosion site were injured as a result of glass shrapnel caused by the explosion, but added that they were all minor injuries.
The security presence in Al-Arish has been heightened in order to track down the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, the armed forces have arrested 18 “terrorist” and “criminal” operatives in their latest operation on Tuesday in North Sinai, Ismailia, Port Said and Daqahleya governorates.
The armed forces said in a statement that the arrested include one “extremely dangerous terrorist element” and one of the perpetrators of the July attack on Al-Farafra checkpoint. The latter attack took place in the desert along the Libyan border, leaving 22 Egyptian border guards dead.
The armed forces had previously announced that primary findings of the investigation indicated the attack was conducted by 20 armed men in vehicles equipped with explosives.
The armed forces additionally destroyed 19 sites used by “terrorist operatives”, including three headquarters and 16 dens in its latest operation.
Two mortar rounds were fired at a security checkpoint in Rafah on Tuesday, according to state-media, with no injuries or deaths reported.
Insurgent activity increased in Sinai after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July, 2013, with the towns of Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid at the epicenter of attacks. Militants have primarily targeted security forces and security sites.
Ongoing counterinsurgency efforts have been intensified after at least 30 soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai last month.
Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the militant group which has claimed responsibility for many attacks inside Egypt, pledged allegiance to the extremist ‘Islamic State’ group in an audio recording released on Monday.