Esmailiya, Egypt - At least 18 Egyptian policemen were killed and four others were injured when a bomb went off on Monday near a security convoy in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, which is gripped by an insurgency, security and medical sources said.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted by its news agency Amaq.
The attack near Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, wounded three others including a brigadier general who lost his leg. It also destroyed three armoured vehicles and a signal-jamming vehicle.
An insurgency by the militant group has gained pace since the military toppled President Mohammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following mass protests against his rule in mid-2013.
Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed since then.
There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry on Monday’s attack.
State news agency MENA quoted a high ranking ministry official confirming the attack and casualty figures.
Security forces were exchanging fire with militants near the explosion site and managed to kill several of them, MENA said.
Four ambulance workers were also injured during the shooting and security forces are pursuing and engaging the militants, the sources said.
In April, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi announced a three-month state of emergency following twin church bombings by Daesh that killed dozens on Palm Sunday, the deadliest attacks on the minority in recent memory.
The attacks in the Nile Delta cities of Tanta and Alexandria followed a Cairo church bombing in December and came weeks before a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis intended to show support for Egypt’s Christian minority.
Al Sissi declared the three-month state of emergency, and delivered a defiant speech that the war against the extremists “will be long and painful”.