Ho­tel at­tack on judges kills 7 in Egypt’s Si­nai

IS claims re­spon­si­bil­ity for bomb­ing

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

CAIRO: Is­lamic State’s Egyp­tian branch claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for a bomb­ing that killed at least seven peo­ple in a ho­tel in North Si­nai yes­ter­day where judges over­see­ing a par­lia­men­tary elec­tion were stay­ing. A mil­i­tant tried to drive a car bomb into the ho­tel in the provin­cial cap­i­tal alAr­ish be­fore se­cu­rity forces opened fire, caus­ing the car to ex­plode, the mil­i­tary and a wit­ness said. A sui­cide bomber broke into the ho­tel restau­rant and blew him­self up and a gunman en­tered the guest rooms area and killed a judge, they said. Seven­teen peo­ple were wounded, the Health Min­istry said.

“A brother ... seek­ing mar­tyr­dom hit with his car bomb the se­cu­rity force pro­tect­ing the Swiss (Inn) ho­tel where 50 judges were stay­ing, only to be fol­lowed by a lion ... who broke into the judges’ base with his au­to­matic weapon ... then blew up his ex­plo­sive belt among them,” Si­nai Prov­ince said in a state­ment cir­cu­lated by its fol­low­ers on Twit­ter.

The group has car­ried out sim­i­lar at­tacks in the re­gion as part of its bid to top­ple the Cairo gov­ern­ment. It said two of its mem­bers car­ried out the at­tack. The In­te­rior Min­istry said there were two at­tack­ers but the mil­i­tary and a wit­ness said there were three mil­i­tants. It was not im­me­di­ately pos­si­ble to clar­ify the con­tra­dic­tion. Two judges, four po­lice­men and a civil­ian were killed, the In­te­rior Min­istry said. The mil­i­tary said the three mil­i­tants were killed.

The blasts fol­lowed Mon­day’s sec­ond round of vot­ing in Egypt’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion. Egyp­tian elec­tions are mon­i­tored by the ju­di­ciary with judges run­ning polling sta­tions, ob­serv­ing the vot­ing and count­ing bal­lots. “This bru­tal in­ci­dent is a failed at­tempt to hin­der the state from build­ing its institution but we as­sure all that it will in­crease the drive and in­sis­tence of the armed forces and the In­te­rior Min­istry to weed out the roots of ter­ror­ism in North Si­nai,” a mil­i­tary state­ment read.

The at­tack hap­pened early in the morn­ing and started with the car bomb, Swiss Inn man­ager Mo­hamed Ma­hana told Reuters. “The se­cu­rity forces shot the sui­cide bomber and his car and his tyres blew up but he kept driv­ing un­til he got to the ho­tel en­trance then the explosion hap­pened. It was huge.” A sec­ond sui­cide bomber came in through the beach and into the ho­tel restau­rant, break­ing its win­dow, be­fore blow­ing him­self up, said Ma­hana. The restau­rant was empty. “A third at­tacker sneaked into the ho­tel through the side where the guest rooms are and shot passersby, killing one judge, be­fore a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial shot him.” — Reuters

AL-AR­ISH, Egypt: A man stands next to an am­bu­lance out­side the Swiss Inn ho­tel in this Egyp­tian town in the Si­nai penin­sula, fol­low­ing an at­tack on the ho­tel yes­ter­day. — AFP

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