An early-morning wave of attacks on the Sinai Peninsula left at least 38 dead and dozens more injured. According to the AP, the terrorist group ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the attacks on Facebook.
It’s been a deadly week for Egypt, which saw its state prosecutor Hisham Barakat assassinated over the weekend with a roadside bomb tied to an ISIS group called the Sinai Province. Yesterday, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi publicly promised to step up efforts against the group, apparently prompting the “swift response.”
The morning assault was reportedly launched by around 70 ISIS operatives, who used mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and car bombs in “near simultaneous assaults” on several army checkpoints. Via the AP:
An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, saying its fighters targeted a total of 15 army and police positions and staged three suicide bombings, two of which targeted checkpoints and one that hit an officers’ club in the nearby city of el-Arish.
The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified but it was posted on a Facebook page associated with the group.
Except for the attack at the officers’ club, the rest took place in the town of Sheikh Zuweid and targeted at least six military checkpoints, the officials said. The militants also took soldiers captive and seized weapons and several armored vehicles, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Al Jazeera reports Israel has shut down its border crossings with Egypt in the wake of the attacks. Clashes between ISIS and the Egyptian army are still reportedly underway, and the power to surrounding neighborhoods has apparently been cut while residents wait out the fight indoors.