ISIL claims attack that killed 11 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai

The attack, in which five other soldiers were wounded, was the Egyptian army’s heaviest loss in years.

The ISIL (ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 11 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday.

At least five other soldiers were wounded in Saturday’s attack, according to the Egyptian military.

It was the heaviest loss of life the Egyptian army had suffered in years in its long-running campaign in and around the Sinai against fighters loyal to the armed group.

“[ISIL] fighters killed Egyptian soldiers, seized their weapons and burned down their position in West Sinai,” the group said on its Amaq propaganda internet site on Sunday.

The attack took place in the town of Qantara in the province of Ismailia, which stretches eastwards from the Suez Canal.

Fighters attacked troops at a checkpoint guarding the pumping facility, and then fled the site. The military said troops were pursuing the attackers in an isolated area of the northern Sinai Peninsula.

Ongoing violence

The Sinai Peninsula has been gripped for more than a decade by armed violence, which peaked after the removal of the late President Mohammed Morsi in a coup in 2013.

More than 1,000 suspected fighters and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

The pace of attacks in Sinai’s main theatre of operations and elsewhere has slowed to a trickle since February 2018, when the military launched an extensive operation in Sinai as well as parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country’s western border with Libya.

“These terrorist operations will not defeat the determination of the country and the army to continue uprooting terrorism,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledged on Facebook after the attack.

Washington condemned the “terrorist attack in the Sinai targeting members of the Egyptian military” and expressed its condolences to the victims’ families.

France, the African Union, and Sudan also denounced the assault.

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