Ansar Claims Responsibility for Police Bus Bombing

The Islamic State-affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing of a bus carrying police personnel early on Sunday inside North Sinai’s al-Arish city.

According to security sources, the blast left 18 conscripts injured, the majority with minor injuries.

Ansar said in a statement circulated by twitter accounts affiliated with it that the quot;blessed security operationquot; led to the quot;killing and injuring of dozens of apostatesquot;.

Aswat Masriya could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement.

The attack came after a state of emergency in place in parts of North Sinai was extended by three months, as of Sunday. An accompanying night-time curfew has also been extended by three months.

The state of emergency and curfew were introduced in October after a militant attack which left 33 security personnel killed. Ansar claimed responsibility for it.

The North-Sinai based group changed its name to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to Islamic State fighters last November.

The group has increasingly claimed responsibility for attacks in the peninsula, and has claimed at least four attacks in July alone.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai peninsula, since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.