ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint near the famed Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai late on Tuesday which authorities said killed one policeman and wounded four.
The militants opened fire from an elevated hilltop overlooking the police checkpoint just outside the monastery, which is located in a remote desert and mountainous area in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.
After an exchange of gunfire, the attackers fled the scene, the ministry said, adding that some of the gunmen were wounded in the shootout.
No further details were immediately available.
According to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of militants, the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency announced that the group’s militants carried out the attack near Saint Catherine. This is the first time the ISIS has attacked a monastery.
It comes shortly before a planned visit by the Pope Francis to Egypt next week.
The attack on the monastery, built in the 6th century and a popular site for tourists visiting the Red Sea resorts along Sinai’s southern coast, comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and the coastal city of Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Egypt’s Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for those attacks.
IS has vowed more attacks against Christians in Egypt, who make up 10 percent of the country’s population of over 90 million people.
Read more at Catholic Herald.