Isil launches missile attack on Egyptian navy ship
MILITANTS linked to Isil have launched an audacious missile attack on an Egyptian navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, claiming to have destroyed it and killed all its crew.
However, the Egyptian military denied anyone had died in the explosion on board the ship while it was anchored off the Sinai peninsula's coast.
Egyptian military spokesman, Brigadier General Mohammed Samir, said the vessel caught fire after the missile launch by "terrorists" on the shore. However, security officials said an unspecified number of crew members suffered injuries from the fire and that several of them jumped overboard to escape the raging fire.
The Egyptian Isil affiliate, which calls itself the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, said it destroyed the vessel with a rocket.
The claim of responsibility on Twitter was accompanied by photos purporting to show what appears to be a rocket flying toward the vessel, a large explosion engulfing most of the boat and then black smoke rising up from the vessel.
The attack on the ship is the first of its kind by the IS affiliate in Egypt, representing a step up in the military capabilities of the group, whose campaign of violence has been mostly restricted to the northern part of Sinai bordering Gaza and Israel.
Its claim of responsibility for yesterday's attack on the vessel is the second in as many days for major operations, or attempted ones.
On Wednesday, the military said it foiled an attempted attack on a military post on a highway linking Cairo to the Red Sea coast. The driver of a car that was carrying 500kg of explosives refused to stop at a checkpoint, drawing fire from troops.
It swerved off the road and the driver was killed.