EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — An Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a tribal checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, killing four members of a powerful local tribe and wounding others, Egyptian security officials said.
They say the attacker, driving a car filled with explosives, struck a checkpoint near the town of Rafah that was manned by members of the Tarabeen tribe. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Egyptian forces have been battling a growing insurgency in the northern Sinai for years, with local tribes mostly remaining on the sidelines.
The tribes have long resented the heavy-handed security crackdown in the region and relations with the Cairo government have been poor. Civilians in northern Sinai have had to endure violence as well as prolonged military curfews and diminished services. The tribesmen also fear the wrath of the militants, who frequently kill alleged informants.
Clashes erupted last week between the militants and local tribes after IS fighters shot at a truck smuggling cigarettes into an area where the extremists have banned tobacco. Earlier this month, militants kidnapped the head of another powerful tribe, El-Fawakhriya, and a prominent businessman from the tribe.