IS claims killing and wound­ing 20 Egyp­tian troops in Si­nai

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

The Is­lamic State group in Egypt claimed on Tues­day that its fighters killed and wounded 20 Egyp­tian sol­diers in four days of clashes in north­ern Si­nai.

In a state­ment posted on a pro-IS web­site, the Egyp­tian af­fil­i­ate of the Sunni mil­i­tant group said the fight­ing took place south of the coastal city of el-Ar­ish and that the mil­i­tants also de­stroyed two tanks, a Humvee and two other mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment on the claim, and the restive area of the Si­nai Penin­sula is off lim­its to the me­dia.

Se­cu­rity forces have been bat­tling IS-led mil­i­tants in Si­nai for years, but the in­sur­gency has grown dead­lier and more wide­spread since the 2013 ouster by the mil­i­tary of Egypt’s former Is­lamist pres­i­dent, Mo­hammed Morsi.

Fol­low­ing a spate of deadly at­tacks blamed on IS, Egypt re­cently stepped up se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions south of el-Ar­ish and the desert be­yond, say­ing many mil­i­tants were killed and that weapons, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives were seized.

Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fat­tah el-Sissi has de­scribed the fight­ing in Si­nai as a “harsh war” that Egypt is fight­ing alone, and last week called on Egyp­tians to stand to­gether against ter­ror­ism.

Separately, a Chris­tian su­per­mar­ket owner in el-Ar­ish was gunned down on Mon­day night by sus­pected mil­i­tants, the lat­est in a se­ries of killings by IS tar­get­ing mem­bers of Egypt’s Chris­tian mi­nor­ity in Si­nai.

Wael Mi­lad was shot in­side his su­per­mar­ket, af­ter which his killers fled to the olive or­chards south of the city, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to brief the me­dia.

Last sum­mer, IS gunned down a priest, Rafael Moussa, in el-Ar­ish’s in­dus­trial area as he waited for his car to be re­paired.

Egypt is home to one of the world’s old­est Chris­tian com­mu­ni­ties, with Cop­tic Chris­tians ac­count­ing for roughly 10 per cent of its 92 mil­lion peo­ple. They have long com­plained of dis­crim­i­na­tion at the hands of the Mus­lim ma­jor­ity.

Nearly 30 Chris­tians, mostly women, were killed in De­cem­ber when a sui­cide bomber blew him­self up in­side a packed Cairo church in an at­tack claimed by IS. Also in De­cem­ber, a sus­pected mil­i­tant killed a Chris­tian store­owner with a kitchen knife out­side his liquor and candy shop in the Mediter­ranean port city of Alexan­dria. Is­lam pro­hibits con­sump­tion of al­co­hol.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.