Egyptians gather at the scene following a bombing that struck a main police station in the capital of the northern Sinai province in el-Arish, Egypt, Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP)
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s branch in Egypt has claimed a wave of attacks on military checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 15 soldiers on Wednesday.
“In a blessed raid enabled by God, the lions of the caliphate have simultaneously attacked more than 15 checkpoints belonging to the apostate army,” the group said in a statement posted on social media websites.
Reuters has reported that at least 30 people were killed in the attacks, including military personnel, with Doctor Osama el-Sayed at El-Arish General Hospital saying the hospital had received 30 bodies, “some of whom were wearing army fatigues.
According to an army spokesman who spoke to Reuters, 22 “terrorists” were killed in the attack.
Clashes between militants and soldiers have been going on in the region for hours, security sources told the Associated Press.
The attacks come just two days after the assassination in Cairo of the country's prosecutor-general Hesham Barakat. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi vowed on Tuesday to step up a two-year crackdown on militants.
Officials told AP that Wednesday's attack took place just south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid and targeted at least six military checkpoints.
They said the militants also took soldiers captive and seized several armored vehicles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Militants in northern Sinai have battled security forces for years but stepped up their attacks following the July 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi.
Last Update: Wednesday, 1 July 2015 KSA 13:09 - GMT 10:09