Tuesday 27 September 2016

Islamic militants kill 7 in attack on hotel in Egypt's Sinai

Published 25/11/2015 | 01:56

Britain suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after the airliner bombing
Britain suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after the airliner bombing

An Islamic militant attack involving a suicide car bombing and gunmen has targeted a hotel in Egypt's northern Sinai region, killing seven people, according to reports.

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The attack on the Swiss Inn hotel in the coastal city of El-Arish was the latest violence convulsing the troubled peninsula, where Egyptian troops are struggling to put down an Islamic insurgency. The attack was quickly claimed by the Islamic State's affiliate based in Sinai.

The assault came a day after Egypt held the second round of parliamentary elections. Judges who supervised the vote in Sinai were staying in the heavily guarded hotel. Two were said to have been killed.

A report by the MENA news agency said four policemen and a civilian were also among the seven killed, and that at least 10 people were wounded.

Earlier the military said 12 people were wounded in the attack.

The attack began as Egyptian troops and policemen guarding the Swiss Inn opened fire on a suspicious, explosives-laden car approaching the building, blowing it up before it reached the hotel.

In the meantime, two militants slipped inside the hotel. One detonated an explosives vest in the hotel's kitchen, while the second opened fire in a hotel room. The military said all militants involved in the attack were killed.

The Sinai branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on social media accounts.

The group also posted pictures of the two attackers and identified them as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer and Abu Wadhaa al-Muhajer. Al-Muhajer means migrant in Arabic and is used by militant groups to refer to foreign fighters, an indication that they could have been from outside Egypt.

Sinai was shaken last month when a Russian passenger airliner crashed in the north of the peninsula, killing all 224 people onboard. Russia has said an explosive device placed onboard the Airbus 321-200 was to blame for the crash.

The local IS branch claimed responsibility for the crash. The crash led Russia to suspend all flights to and from Egypt, while Britain suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Press Association

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