ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt attack that killed three policemen

Attack was the first in three years in mainland Egypt

The Suez Canal Authority's headquarters in Ismailia, Egypt. Reuters
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The Egyptian branch of ISIS says it carried out the attack on a police checkpoint in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia on Friday that left three policemen dead.

"A cell of soldiers of the caliphate managed to attack an Egyptian police roadblock... with a machine gun," the extremist group's Amaq News Agency said.

The local security directorate in Ismailia, about 100km east of Cairo, said the attack was carried out by two gunmen on motorcycles. One of the assailants was killed in an exchange of gunfire, while the other fled the scene. A manhunt was under way to capture him, it said.

The UAE condemned the attack and affirmed its support to the Egyptian government in fighting terrorism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said in a statement.

The attack was also condemned by the GCC in a statement issued by its Secretary General, Nayef Al Hajraf, who stressed the bloc's rejection of all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism.

ISIS-affiliated militants have for years fought security forces in the north-eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula on the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Friday’s attack was the first in nearly three years in mainland Egypt, which has in recent years largely been spared the deadly insurgency in Sinai.

The frequency of attacks by militants dropped sharply after a large, army-led operation began in 2018 to finish off the insurgency.

Militants have since mostly staged small-scale attacks against isolated army or police posts, assassinated minority Christians, suspected collaborators with the authorities and tribal leaders who have openly sided with the government.

Last May, 11 soldiers were killed in an attack on a state facility in western Sinai. Days later, five soldiers and seven militants died when the army was attacked elsewhere in Sinai.

Ismailia is located at roughly the halfway point along the Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

About 10 per cent of the world's maritime trade transits the Suez Canal, which has its headquarters is in Ismailia.

Updated: January 01, 2023, 10:16 AM