ISIS claims attack on Egyptian security checkpoint in Sinai as Cairo braces for protests

Islamic State fighters attacked an Egyptian security checkpoint in the Sinai peninsula on Friday, September 27, as security forces deployed in downtown Cairo to block planned protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Islamic State said in statement on Friday, September 27 that fighters from its Sinai Province affiliate attacked the checkpoint near Tafaha, south of Bir al-Abed.

ISIS’s Amaq propaganda agency claimed the fighters “wiped out” 15 Egyptian Army soldiers at the checkpoint with “shells and rockets.”

However, independent news website Mada Masr cited a security source and a medical source as saying seven soldiers and one officer were killed, with five others wounded. The sources told Mada Masr that a civilian was also killed, and five others, including a toddler, were wounded.

Egyptian security forces deployed heavily throughout Cairo earlier on Friday in preparations to stifle planned protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who faces widespread discontent over a stagnant economy and a massive crackdown on dissent.

Rare protests broke out last week in multiple Egyptian cities in response to calls by a dissident living in Spain who has posted a series of YouTube videos detailing vast alleged corruption schemes within Sisi’s inner circle.

The Egyptian government has battled a significant Islamist insurgency in North Sinai since the 2011 revolution.

In 2017, several dozen gunmen assaulted a community mosque outside North Sinai’s al-Arish, killing more than 300 worshippers.

The Egyptian army launched a nationwide offensive against Islamist militants, focused mainly on North Sinai, in early 2018.

The Egyptian government regularly touts successes against the Islamist fighters in Sinai, but the region is officially off-limits to independent monitors and journalists.