CAIRO– In the latest of an intensifying pattern of attacks in and near the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, a powerful car bomb exploded Saturday outside a military intelligence compound, injuring six soldiers, the Egyptian military said.
The army’s chief spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said on his Facebook page that the injuries were not life-threatening. The compound’s outer wall was damaged in the midafternoon blast, which came on the first working day after the Eid al-Adha holiday.
A second car bomb was discovered in the area and defused, local news reports said.
Ismailia is the gateway to the Sinai Peninsula, where the Egyptian army for two months has been in the midst of a major offensive against Islamist insurgents. Nearly every day brings new clashes, and dozens of police and soldiers have been wounded or killed in bombings and ambushes. Tribal leaders have said that civilians also are often caught up in the violence.
Egypt’s military-backed government has accused the previous administration, led by deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, of allowing militant groups, some of them foreign, to take root in Sinai during his yearlong tenure, engaging in weapons smuggling and other illicit activity.
Morsi was toppled in July by the army after enormous protests demanding his ouster, and his Muslim Brotherhood movement has been the target of a sustained government crackdown. The former president is to go on trial in November in connection with the deaths of demonstrators during his time in office.
Firsthand information about the Sinai clashes, which have mainly taken place in a northern swath of the peninsula, is difficult to come by.
Authorities discourage travel there, and a well-regarded Egyptian journalist was recently jailed and given a six-month suspended sentence after the army accused him of lying about its activities.