IS claims attack on airport in Egypt's Sinai
Cairo: An Islamic State affiliate on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a missile attack the previous day that targeted an airport in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula during an unpublicised visit to the facility by the defense and interior ministers.
In a brief statement circulated on jihadi websites, the group said the intended target of the "guided" missile it fired at the el-Arish airport yesterday was the two ministers, and that the projectile struck an Apache helicopter that was part of their entourage.
The statement, carried by the IS-run Aamaq news agency, could not be independently verified but resembled previous claims by the group that were widely seen as credible. Earlier on Wednesday, security officials said Egyptian forces clashed with Islamic militants near the el-Arish airport. Five militants and an army captain were killed in the fighting. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.
Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar, who is in charge of police, were in el-Arish on an unannounced visit when the attack took place, according to a brief military statement. It said an officer was killed and two others were wounded in the attack, which also damaged a helicopter. It did not say whether the two ministers were at the airport at the time. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with both ministers in Cairo today, according to presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.