05/02/2020, 17.16
EGYPT
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Egyptian Church condemns Islamic State attack on soldiers in North Sinai

At least ten soldiers and officers were killed or wounded in a blast that hit a military vehicle. In response, the army killed two jihadis. Egypt’s Catholic Church stands in "full solidarity" with the government against “such evil terrorism".

Cairo (AsiaNews) – Egypt’s Catholic Church, through her blessed Patriarch Ibrahim Ishaq Sedrak, condemned Thursday’s terrorist attack against the army in North Sinai. The latter was claimed overnight by the Islamic State group. At least 10 military personnel were either killed or wounded; two jihadi attackers were killed in the army’s counterattack.

In a statement, the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt, referred to the "martyrdom and wounding" of eight soldiers, a non-commissioned officer and an officer.  Expressing “full solidarity" with the government against “such evil terrorism,” it offers the Catholic Church’s "sincerest condolences to the families of the martyrs" who died in active “duty". For the Council, “This action breaks all religious and human laws, values ​​and rules”.

In last Thursday’s incident, an explosive device detonated under an armoured vehicle in the town of Bir al-Abd, North Sinai governorate. An officer died, a non-commissioned officer and eight soldiers were wounded.

In retaliation, the army went after Islamic State cells thought to be in a farming area not far from the site of the attack. Two jihadists were killed in the ensuing gun battle. A machine gun, mobile phones, and ammunition were seized.

For years, northern Sinai has been the scene of a low-intensity war carried out by extremist Islamist groups. The overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and the rise of the Islamic State group in 2014 saw the fighting escalate.

Christians were also caught up in the violence. Several were killed in targeted attacks against individuals and groups.

In February 2018, Egyptian security forces, military and police launched a massive offensive against armed groups and jihadists in the North Sinai area; in just over two years, more than 840 terrorist suspects and more than 60 military personnel were killed.

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