January 27, 2016 / 4:33 PM / in 2 years

Four Egyptian soldiers killed, 12 injured in Sinai explosion

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - At least four Egyptian army soldiers were killed and 12 injured in the Sinai Peninsula after an armored personnel carrier exploded on the outskirts of the city of Arish, security and medical sources said on Wednesday.

Unidentified militants planted an improvised explosive device on the road and later remotely detonated it as the vehicle conducted a search operation, the sources said.

Egypt’s official military spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The most populous Arab country is battling an insurgency that gained pace after its military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.

The insurgency, mounted by Islamic State’s Egyptian branch Sinai Province, has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and started to attack Western targets within the country.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief who led Mursi’s ouster, describes Islamist militancy as an existential threat to Egypt, an ally of the United States. Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has a presence in Libya which borders Egypt.

Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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