The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for two attacks in Egypt’s Northern Sinai city of Al Arish, which left nine people dead.
However, the IS-affilated Ammaq news agency published a report on Tuesday claiming it had killed 25 police officers during the attacks that targeted two checkpoints in El Matafy and El Masieed in Al Arish.
“An explosives-laden vehicle was parked and detonated near the checkpoint,” Ammaq’s statement read.
“The explosion was followed by intensive attacks from IS fighters who blew up two armoured vehicles and killed all who were not killed by the initial explosion.”
However, Egypt’s Daily News reported that the Egyptian Interior Ministry’s official Facebook page stated that eight police officers and one civilian lost their lives in the attacks.
Describing the first attack, which targeted El Matafy security checkpoint at dawn on Monday, the Interior Ministry said that it had been carried out by 20 militants who attempted to wrest control of the checkpoint from the Egyptian military.
The militants first opened fire using AK-47 assault rifles against forces stationed in the checkpoint. They also used improvised explosive devices, a vehicle laden with explosives and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The Interior Ministry further disputed the IS’s version of events stating that security forces had managed to detonate the vehicle before it got close to the checkpoint, and in the ensuing gunfight, security forces killed five militants and injured three others.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) denounced the attack on Tuesday in a press statement that condemned in the strongest terms “the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack”.
The statement further “reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”.
The Council also underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States to cooperate actively with the government of Egypt and all other relevant authorities in this regard.
“Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” the Council reiterated, reaffirming the need for all states to combat by all means threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
The Council further expressed its deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.