The Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility today for deadly attacks on army checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 15 soldiers and two civilians.
Jihadists launched simultaneous attacks on Thursday on five checkpoints in the restive Sinai with assault rifles and grenade launchers, the deadliest in months against Egyptian security forces.
Medics said 15 soldiers and two civilians were killed.
"The lions of the Sinai Province early on Thursday launched wide scale simultaneous attacks against security checkpoints on the road between Rafah and Arish," in North Sinai, the group said in a tweet.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Partisans of Jerusalem in English, changed its name last year to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to IS, which controls chunks of territory in Iraq and Syria.
The group, which has previously claimed several sophisticated attacks in Sinai and the Nile valley, now wants to establish in Egypt a province of the self-declared IS "caliphate".
They say the attacks are in retaliation to a deadly government crackdown against Islamists.