An Egyptian security officer was killed and four border guards, including another officer, were injured in a rare militant attack near the town of Saint Catherine in southern Sinai, local independent Mada Masr website reported on Tuesday.
The report cited a security source as saying that gunmen attacked a military vehicle before exchanging fire with the five army personnel late on Monday on a highway near Saint Catherine, where attacks are quite rare compared to northern Sinai.
Mada Masr reported that Telegram channels affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) group said the attack was carried out by the IS-affiliated Sinai Province.
Neither the army spokesman nor IS have not released a statement on the reported attack so far.
However, pro-government domestic outlets, including the privately owned Sada el-Balad TV website, reported that Aswan’s governor offered condolences over Captain Amr Shehab Abu al-Nil’s death.
“The Saint Catherine attack comes at a time when the state and the official media promotes news about the end of terrorism in North Sinai and the return of life to normal as a result of the comprehensive military operation that started in 2018,” the governor said.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has recently said his government is keen on achieving security in Sinai, noting that terrorism has impeded the development efforts and the living conditions of the peninsula’s residents.
An insurgency erupted in northern Sinai following the ousting of late Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
A recent unofficial pro-IS video chronicling the evolution of its Egypt-based Sinai branch has warned that “the war [there] hasn’t begun yet”.
Hundreds of army and police personnel have been killed in attacks by militants affiliated with the Sinai Province militant group over the past years.