Islamic State Affiliate In Egypt Claims Attack That Killed Dozens

Militants affiliated with Islamic State (IS) fighters have claimed responsibility for a deadly wave of attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on January 29 that officials say killed at least 26 people, primarily soldiers.

A Twitter account linked to the militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an IS affiliate in Egypt, said the organization “executed extensive, simultaneous attacks” in the cities of Al-Arish, the provincial capital, the nearby town of Sheik Zuwaid, and the town of Rafah the border with Gaza.

The attacks were among the worst incidents of anti-government violence in Egypt recently.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis swore allegiance to IS last year.

The IS-linked militants posted photographs on Twitter hours before the attack showing masked fighters wearing black clothing and wielding rocket-propelled grenades under the black IS flag.

Egyptian officials said the attacks included a car bomb that was detonated outside a military base, as well as mortar fire targeting more than a dozen checkpoints.

They said the death toll was likely to rise after the car bombing and mortar attack on the military base left people buried under ruble.

Medical officials said at least 60 people were injured in the attack as well.

Hundreds of Egyptian security officers have been killed by Islamist insurgents in Sinai since Islamist President Muhammad Morsi was overthrown in 2013.

Egyptian Army Spokesman Ahmed Samir said in a brief statement on his Facebook page that the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is banned in Egypt, was responsible for organizing the attacks.

Samir said in the statement that due to “successful strikes” by the Egyptian army and police against terrorists in Sinai, the militants targeted numerous army and police installations.

He added that government forces and the militants exchanged gunfire during the attacks.