Egypt Hotel Attack
Published: November 25, 2015
Egypt Hotel Attack, Islamic State militants attacked a hotel in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt with explosives and gunfire early on Tuesday, killing at least seven people, including a judge, according to security officials, Egyptian state media and a statement by the group.
The hotel, the Swiss Inn Resort in El Arish, was housing judges who were monitoring Egypt’s parliamentary elections, an important political milestone for the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The militants were able to penetrate the hotel despite the heavy security measures in place across the country, sending a suicide attacker driving an explosive-packed car and a gunman who stormed into the hotel and shot the judge.
Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate, known as the Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the hotel attack in a statement circulated on social media by supporters. As it has in past statements, the group said the latest attack was carried out in retaliation for the government’s imprisonment of women, whom it did not name.
The group, one of the more active branches of the Islamic State, has carried out numerous attacks in the northern Sinai. Last month, it claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian plane carrying tourists from the resort of Sharm el Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. They were also behind a bombing at a police club in El Arish this month that killed four officers.
The claim concerning the Russian jetliner reflected the Sinai Province’s shift in focus over the past two years, toward civilian targets and away from attacks mainly on the security services.
Russian officials have said that the plane carrying the tourists was destroyed by a bomb, and they severed air links with Egypt. Egyptian officials have so far refused to say that militants were responsible for the crash, while at the same time bolstering security measures at the country’s airports in an acknowledgment of safety gaps.
The Egyptian authorities have also repeatedly portrayed the Sinai militants as being on the retreat. The attack on Tuesday occurred despite the deployment of thousands of police officers and soldiers to protect the parliamentary election.
The military said that the assault started around 7 a.m., when security forces fired on a militant driving an explosive-laden vehicle outside the hotel. The car exploded, and in the ensuing confusion, another militant entered the hotel, killing the judge and then detonating an explosive belt, the militant group said.
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