Egypt's Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for Sinai attacks - twitter statement

Wednesday 01-07-2015 12:02 PM
Egypt's Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for Sinai attacks - twitter statement

Islamist Militants in Arish - Reuters


CAIRO, Jul 1 (Aswat Masriya) - The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for a string of attacks which targeted security checkpoints and facilities in North Sinai early Wednesday.

The group said in a statement released on twitter accounts affiliated with it that it targeted over 15 security locations, carrying out three "suicide operations" in al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, as well as other attacks on 13 checkpoints and a police station with heavy and light weaponry. 

The militant group claimed it has "gained full control" over several locations, adding that clashes remain ongoing.

Aswat Masriya could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement.

The number of casualties of attacks on security checkpoints in North Sinai on Wednesday rose to 30 security personnel, a military source said. Casualties ranged from deaths to injuries. 

Twenty-two "terrorists" were killed in clashes which followed an attack by around 70 suspected militants on five security checkpoints, said armed forces spokesman Mohamed Samir in a statement. Samir meanwhile reported 10 casualties "so far", also ranging from deaths to injuries among security personnel.

Clashes remain ongoing, Samir said. 

Armed assailants attacked military checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid with mortar shells and heavy weaponry. Security forces were soon to respond, as both sides exchanged fire, the sources said.

Gunmen also attacked the Sheikh Zuweid Police Station with firearms, sources said, adding that security forces quickly responded, forcing the assailants to retreat. 

Militancy inside Egypt has seen a significant rise since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which was prompted by mass protests against his rule. Most attacks occur in North Sinai, targeting security forces. The attacks have left hundreds of security personnel killed.

Attacks have expanded to other parts of the city, including the capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is Egypt's most active militant group, having claimed responsibility for the majority of militant attacks in the peninsula. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq last November, changing its name to Sinai Province.

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