CAIRO ( Associated Press) — A group affiliated with the Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility Sunday for an attack on a water pumping station east of the Suez Canal, killing at least 11 soldiers.
At least five other soldiers were wounded in Saturday’s attack, according to the Egyptian military. This is one of the worst attacks against Egyptian security forces in recent years.
Thousands of people attended different funerals for the deceased on Sunday.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, for his part, chaired a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which includes the main military commanders, to analyze the consequences of the attack, his office said without offering further details.
The extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released by its Aamaq news agency.
The authenticity of the statement could not be verified, but it was posted on the Telegram messaging network, as has been the case with similar attributions in the past.
The attack took place in the city of Qantara in Ismailia province, which stretches east from the Suez Canal.
The attackers attacked troops at a checkpoint guarding the pumping station and then fled the scene. The army said troops were pursuing the attackers in an isolated area of the northern Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt is battling an insurgency led by the Islamic State group in Sinai that intensified after the military ousted an elected Islamist president in 2013 but was divisive. The extremists have carried out dozens of attacks, mainly against security forces and Christians.
The pace of militant attacks in Sinai and elsewhere has slowed to a minimum since February 2018, when the armed forces launched a large-scale operation in Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and in deserts along the country’s western border with Libya.