18 Egypt policemen killed in Sinai mortar claimed by ISIS

A mortar attack on a checkpoint in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula killed 18 policemen on Saturday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but said in a statement that it had deployed a suicide bomber who blew up a car at the checkpoint, which jihadists then raided.

The interior ministry said the attack took place at a checkpoint near El-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

“A mortar round was fired at the Safa checkpoint… which resulted in the martyrdom of 18 policemen,” the ministry statement said.

Two officers were among the 18 fatalities, according to Egyptian media reports.

ISIS said a suicide bomber, identified by the nom de guerre “Abu Al-Qaaqaa the Egyptian”, blew up a car packed with explosives at the checkpoint.

“This was followed by the storming of the checkpoint,” it said in a statement posted on social media accounts.

The attack was the deadliest in months in northern Sinai, where ISIS’s Egyptian branch is waging an insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.