Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The provisional toll from at least three dead, including one police officer, and wounded 12, the provisional a car bomb attack in the region of Sinai, Egypt, already the scene of Islamic State and extremist group attacks in the recent past is of three dead and twelve wounded.
The target of the attack was a hotel that was acting as a polling station for the second - and final - round of parliamentary elections taking place in the country, the first under the presidency of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Medical and security sources report that, a policeman was killed in the explosion took place this morning; at least two judges involved in monitoring the voting procedures, were injured.
Car bombs hit a hotel in the town of el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai Governorate, in which the security officials and the heads of the local polling station were staying. So far there have been no official claims of responsibility. Some sources speak of an Islamic State attack but this has yet to be confirmed.
Islamic extremist groups, including militias linked to al Qaeda and local branches of the Islamic state (IS) are active in the area and authors of attacks and violence aimed at destabilizing the country and overthrowing the government in Cairo.
According to preliminary reports, a suicide bomber tried to crash his car against the Swiss Inn hotel in el-Arish; the security forces present at the scene opened fire on the car, causing it to explode. Three people died in the blast, including a policeman. Ten minutes later there was another explosion - according to preliminary information it would be a second car bomb.
The intervention of the army and security officers was immediate, who surrounded and sealed off the area.
Recently, the Egyptian Catholic Church spoke described the security measures and laws approved by President Sisi to ensure the protection of citizens as "necessary". However, the terrorists were able to strike and, in some cases, seriously as was the case on Oct. 30 with the shooting down of a Russian airliner carrying tourists returning from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Arish is just 100 km from the place where the Metrojet flight, crashed killing 224 people.
Ambulance workers also targeted. Sinai violence continues against the government of President Sisi.
The dead include 27 children. There are 128 wounded. The mosque attack is the first of its kind and the deadliest in the history of modern Egypt. More attacks are feared. It is impossible to protect all mosques. The goal is to weaken the government ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Survivors tell their stories. Gunmen shot at people fleeing.
Extremist militias view non-Wahhabis as enemies to attack, says Fr Rafic Greiche. The Sinai has a long history of violence, with churches and priests seen as “legitimate targets”. It is “no accident” that a Coptic priest was recently killed on the anniversary of Morsi’s ouster.
In recent weeks hundreds of Christian families targeted by the Islamic State have abandoned al-Arish. The government prepared to cover the costs of accommodation, food and schooling for displaced persons. By jihadists have lists with the names of the Copts to be executed. Criticism of the authorities and the army for not intervening in time.