30 Jan 2015

NZ peacekeepers take cover in Sinai attack

9:00 pm on 30 January 2015

New Zealand peacekeepers in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula were forced to take cover during a series of attacks by a group associated with Islamic State that killed at least 26 people, mostly soldiers.

Security officials say rockets were first fired at police offices, a military base and a military hotel in the provincial capital of El-Arish before a car bomb exploded at the rear gate of the military base.

Several army checkpoints in the city were also targeted.

Other attacks took place in the town of Sheik Zuwayid and in Rafah, near Gaza.

A New Zealand defence force spokesperson said its 26 personnel deployed in Sinai were unharmed but took cover and waited for the fighting to end.

The insurgents have intensified attacks since Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013.

The BBC reports that tensions have also been raised across Egypt this week amid protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted then-leader Hosni Mubarak.

Security officials said rockets were first fired at police offices, a military base and a military hotel in El-Arish before a car bomb exploded at the rear gate of the military base. Several army checkpoints in the city were also targeted.