IS claims attack on Egypt checkpoint that killed 5 police

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 08:18:07-05

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Thursday for an attack on a checkpoint in the country's volatile Sinai Peninsula that killed five policemen.

The Associated Press could not independently verify the claim, which was issued via a statement circulated by the group's sympathizers on social media, however the design and logo resembled previous IS claims.

The attack took place at midnight on Wednesday in the city of el-Arish and also wounded three policemen, the Interior Ministry said

The assault came as security forces nationwide braced themselves for the Jan. 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Officials, including President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, have voiced concern over attempts to mark the anniversary with new protests and security forces have arrested a number of activists accused of planning demonstrations.

Egypt has been hit by a wave of suicide bombings and militant attacks that intensified after the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Over the past year, most of these were claimed by IS.

The last major incident took place in December, when suicide bombers struck a hotel in Sinai housing judges monitoring the parliamentary elections. Two judges were killed.