Islamic State-linked group claims recent Sinai attacks

Islamic State-linked group claims recent Sinai attacks
The Egyptian army is on high alert after a series of attacks on the strategic peninsula.
2 min read
30 January, 2015
The Egyptian army has previously been targeted in the Sinai [AFP]
Civilians and military personnel are among 42 people left dead in a series of attacks on Thursday night in the north of Egypt's restive Sinai peninsula.

A further 36 people are seriously injured, said Tareq Khater, undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in north Sinai.

Sinai Province, an armed group affiliated to the Islamic State group, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Soldiers of the caliphate of [Sinai Province] waged a large-scale, simultaneous attack on the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah," the group tweeted early on Friday.

Gunmen attacked security headquarters and army barracks with rocket-propelled grenades, mortar shells, and heavy-calibre weapons.

The Sinai Province organisation was formed of members of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as Isis) in November 2014.  

Sources in Sinai said gunmen also fired mortar shells at two police departments and the officers' barracks in Arish, the provincial capital.

The army placed all staff on a state of high alert as soon as the explosions and attacks began. It has also blocked all western entrances into north Sinai.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who launched a crackdown on militant activity on the peninsula after an attack there left 31 soldiers dead in October, is reportedly leaving an African Union summit early in order to deal with the latest crisis.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.