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Islamic State’s Egypt wing claims responsibility for attacks that killed 27

Reuters

The Islamic State group’s Egypt wing claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed at least 27 people on Thursday in some of the worst anti-state violence in months, after commemorations around the anniversary of the 2011 uprising turned deadly this week.

Egypt’s government faces an Islamist insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula and growing discontent with what critics perceive as heavy handed security tactics.

A series of tweets from the Twitter account of the Sinai Province group claimed responsibility for each of the four attacks that took place in North Sinai and Suez provinces within hours of one another on Thursday night.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active militant group, changed its name to Sinai Province last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the hard-line Sunni militant group that has seized swaths of Iraq and Syria, drawing U.S.-led airstrikes.

Thursday’s first attack was a bombing targeting a military headquarters, base and hotel in the capital of North Sinai province that killed 25 and wounded at least 58, including nine civilians, security and medical sources said.

The flagship government newspaper, al-Ahram, said its office in the city of Al-Arish, which is situated opposite the military buildings, had been “completely destroyed,” although it was not clear if it had been a target.

Later, suspected militants killed an army major and wounded six others at a checkpoint in Rafah, followed by a roadside bomb in Suez City that killed a police officer, and an assault on a checkpoint south of Al-Arish that wounded four soldiers, security sources said.

Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of security officers since President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power by the military following mass protests against his rule.

The military said in a statement on its Facebook page that the attacks were the result of a successful campaign to pressure the militants.