Islamic State claims attack near Christian landmark
CAIRO | The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint near the famed Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai late Tuesday, which authorities said killed one policeman and wounded four.
The militants opened fire from an elevated hilltop overlooking the police checkpoint just outside the monastery, which is located in a remote desert and mountainous area in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula.
This is the first time the Islamic State has attacked a monastery, and comes ahead of a planned visit by Pope Francis to Egypt next week.
The attack on the monastery, built in the 6th century and a popular site for tourists visiting the Red Sea resorts along Sinai’s southern coast, comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two Christian churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and the coastal city of Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Islamic State has vowed more attacks against Christians in Egypt, who make up 10 percent of the country’s population of over 90 million people.