Seven people, including three civilians, were killed and 26 civilians were injured in a suicide bombing near a marketplace in the North Sinai city of Sheikh Zuwayed on Tuesday morning, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry.
The blast occurred when a 15-year-old suicide suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt near a police patrol sweeping the area around the marketplace in Sheikh Zuwayed, the ministry said.
Earlier on Tuesday, a local source told Mada Masr that the head detective of the Sheikh Zuwayed Police Station had been killed in the attack, and the fact that the attack had occurred in a public area resulted in a large number of civilian injuries, without specifying the exact number.
The death toll issued by the ministry later in the day stated that four police officers and three civilians — including a six-year-old child — were killed in the attack. The 26 injured are currently receiving treatment, the ministry added.
Prior to the release of the ministry statement, the Islamic State-affiliated militant group Province of Sinai claimed responsibility for the bombing through its media arm, the Amaq News Agency. In their Tuesday statement, the alleged perpetrator was identified as Abu Hager al-Masry, whom the agency claimed carried out the attack close to the Sheikh Zuwayed Police Station using an explosive belt.
The statement claimed that the attack resulted in 15 casualties, specifically mentioning members of the police and the head detective but without specifying the exact number of people who were killed.
The conflict between militants and security forces in North Sinai saw a series of escalations by Egypt’s Armed Forces in February, after a brazen attack by militants on the Gouda 3 checkpoint in Arish left 15 soldiers dead. The military death toll was the highest since the Armed Forces launched a major counterterrorism operation last year dubbed “Operation Sinai 2018.”