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Islamic State claims attack on Egypt's security forces

Egyptian troops have been targeted in a string of deadly attacks [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 July, 2015

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Islamic State's Egypt affiliate said in a statement on a social media site it carried out an attack in Sinai on checkpoints that killed five.

At least five Egyptian soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on military checkpoints by militants in north Sinai on Saturday. 

The Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt claimed the attack in a statement posted on social media.

The official MENA news agency had earlier reported five soldiers killed, quoting security officials.

North Sinai is the bastion of a militant group calling itself Wilayat Sinai - "Sinai Province". Formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, it changed its name when it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS, itself formerly known as ISIS or ISIL) in November. 

Egypt's state news agency said the attack by terrorists, the term the government uses to describe militants, involved rockets and shooting. 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who has launched a bloody crackdown opponents says militants are an existential threat to Egypt, other Arab states and the West.

The regime in Cairo has also announced a tranche of so called anti-terror measures which rights group Amnesty International described as delivering a 'deadly blow' to human rights in Egypt.

While the crackdown has neutralised his enemies in the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State's Egypt affiliate remains resilient despite steady pressure from military operations.  

On Thursday, Sinai Province said it fired a rocket at an Egyptian naval vessel in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Israel and the Gaza Strip. 

The group has killed hundreds of soldiers and police since the army toppled the first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Human rights groups have warned that Egypt has regressed into a state of all-out repression since the the overthrow of Morsi.

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