Al-Qaeda-inspired group claims Sinai attack

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis publishes purported video of bomb attack that killed six soldiers in restive Sinai.

Egypt's army and security forces declared war on Sinai-based group since hike in attack rates [AFP]

Egypt’s Ansar Beit al-Maqdis armed group has claimed  responsibility for the killing of six policemen in a roadside bomb attack in the western Sinai Peninsula, where security forces frequently clash with rebels.

The Sinai-grown group, whose name means “Partisans of Jerusalem”, is behind a series of attacks that have largely targeted security forces in response to a deadly government crackdown on supporters of ousted  Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The al-Qaeda-inspired group posted a video to Twitter late Tuesday that appeared to show the bombing of a security convoy on a road between the North Sinai provincial capital El-Arish and Rafah on the Gaza border.

An armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen flying into the air while a militant shouts “Allahu Akbar (God is greater)”.

The video was also posted on YouTube along with the group’s logo of a black flag, an AK-47 assault rifle and an open Koran.

Al Jazeera has not independently verified the footage. 

Separately, a 22-year-old civilian was killed and his brother, aged 30, wounded when a rocket fired at soldiers by insurgents in the northern Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid region hit their house, a security official said.

ISIL support

Sinai Peninsula has suffered for decades from neglect, which resulted in high unemployment rates and limited infrastructure. This also created an fertile environment for the blossoming of armed groups.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has carried out some of the worst attacks against Egyptian security forces in the peninsula and other parts of the country, killing hundreds since the toplling of Morsi by the army in July 2013.  

Although it conducted attacks prior to Morsi’s ousting, such as the repeated blowing up of a gas pipeline feeding Israel and Jordan, they say the spike in attacks since July 2013 is in retaliation for a government crackdown against Morsi supporters that has left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 15,000 imprisoned.

The police and army have launched a massive campaign in Sinai to root out armed groups in the peninsula, and has succeeded in killing scores of them, including several leaders.

The group claimed a bombing earlier this month in Sinai that killed 11 policemen. It also recently expressed support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Source: AP