Egypt's Islamic State affiliate claims rocket attack on naval boat

Ahram Online , Thursday 16 Jul 2015

Smokes rises from an Egyptian coastguard vessel on the coast of northern Sinai, as seen from the border of southern Gaza Strip with Egypt July 16, 2015 (Reuters)

The Islamic State's Egypt affiliate, Sinai Province, has claimed responsibility for Thursday's missile attack on a naval boat off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.

The Egyptian army said in a statement earlier that the patrol boat was chasing militants off the coast of Rafah, a town in North Sinai, and had exchanged gunfire with them. The boat caught on fire as a result, but the incident left no fatalities, the military said.

Sinai Province released a statement saying its jihadists had carried out a rocket attack on a naval vessel belonging to the "apostasy army" in the eastern Mediterranean.

The volatile North Sinai region, where Rafah is located, is an epicenter of a mounting Islamist insurgency that has killed hundreds of members of the security forces since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Earlier in July, 21 soldiers were killed after simultaneous militant assaults on army checkpoints in the North Sinai towns of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, prompting days-long fighting between troops and insurgents that left over 200 militants killed.

On Wednesday, the army said its troops foiled a suicide car bomb attack on a military post between Cairo and Suez. This attempt was also claimed by Sinai Province, Egypt's most lethal militant group.

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