A car bomb explosion in North Sinai on Wednesday morning left 11 soldiers dead and 37 injured.
Army spokesperson Ahmed Ali’s official page said in a statement that the car bomb targeted a bus carrying members of the Armed Forces on leave.
The 37 who were injured were taken to a military hospital, with seven of the injured in critical condition. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The attack took place south of the city of Sheikh Zuweid and targeted four buses, using a car bomb driven by two suicide bombers on a road connecting Rafah and Al-Arish.
The Armed Forces said it mourns the deaths with great sadness, affirming its determination to continue to fight “black terrorism.”
State-run news agency MENA cited Interim President Adly Mansour as saying that there will be retribution for the dead, stressing that Egypt which triumphed over terrorism in the 1990s will end this “black terrorism from all of its lands.”
The incident was also condemned by PM Hazem El-Beblawi in a statement in which he affirmed that the government is studying alternatives to deal with the “subsequent terrorist events.”
At least two policemen have been killed in Sinai over the past week. On Saturday, a 40-year old policeman Mohamed Zayed was killed by unknown gunmen who shot him in the head and foot. On Thursday, another police officer Abdel Moneim Ahmed was killed in front of his family when three militants broke into his residence and opened fire on him.
In just one week in October, the death toll of security personnel reached seven.
Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam condemned the most recent attack and said that the killing of innocent people and terrorism are “prohibited by Islam” and all heavenly religions. He stressed that Islam rejects all forms of terrorism and called on all Egyptians to work together to fight “terrorism, destructive thoughts and criminal acts.”
Political parties also condemned the deadly attack.
Misr Al-Qawia (Strong Egypt) Party said in a statement, “killing our soldiers by the borders in Sinai is a heinous crime,” adding that killing the soldiers this way shows that the perpetrators do not “appreciate life or respect blood.”
The Free Egyptians Party said in a statement that it condemns the “brutal terrorist crimes” and announced its condolences to the families of the victims and to all Egyptians. It called on the government to take all means and procedures to support the “confrontation of acts of terrorism.”
A condemnation for the attack also came in from outside Egypt by Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu who offered his condolences and wished a speedy recovery for the injured. He reiterated the OIC’s position which denounces “all forms of terrorism.”
Sinai has witnessed recurring attacks targeting security checkpoints and personnel in recent months, with the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi followed by a surge in militancy.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy had said in September that tough responses, including military action, will follow if Egypt feels Hamas or other parties are attempting to threaten national security.
Deputy Head of the Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh denied that Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has any connections to the Sinai. “We are no party to any incident that took place or that is taking place in Sinai…. And we at the [Hamas] movement feel shocked when Egyptian media services, and even officials, address the movement like it is a party that wants evil for Egypt.”