Egypt: 21 soldiers killed in road accident

At least 19 members of Egyptian security forces on the country`s border with Israel, were killed and six others injured when their truck overturned.

Cairo: At least 21 Egyptian soldiers stationed on the country`s border with Israel were killed and 24 others injured Monday when their truck overturned on a mountain road in Sinai Peninsula, the state media reported.

An interior ministry official quoted the official MENA news agency said the accident occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle on the rugged terrain, causing it to overturn.

The personnel belong to the Central Security Forces, which along with the army have been fighting against the militants in the country`s eastern lawless peninsula, which borders Israel.

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi has called for immediate evacuation of those killed and injured, the official added.
Central Security Forces are separate from the Egyptian army, coming under the authority of the interior ministry, but both have been conducting operations in the region.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sent three helicopters to the scene of the accident to transfer the dead and injured, and ordered the wounded to be treated at military hospitals.

Previous reports had said 17 officers had died, but an Interior Ministry statement later put the number at 21.

The soldiers killed in the road accident were security forces battling Islamist militants behind a series of deadly attacks in the lawless Sinai peninsula, the Interior Ministry said.

The sparsely inhabited peninsula hosts Egypt`s most popular beach resorts along the Red Sea, but has also become a hub for Islamist militants, media reports said.

The Egyptian military launched an unprecedented operation involving tanks and helicopters to quell the militants after the August 5 attack that killed 16 Egyptian guards at a border cheek-post, which also led to the sacking of top military generals and the head of intelligence.