Cairo – At least five soldiers were killed by gunmen in Egypt’s Sinai, Peninsula, in the latest attack to hit the troubled area of constant battles with extremist organization linked to ISIS.
“The armed forces mourn with great sadness and sorrow the five martyrs who were martyred in Sinai at the hands of disloyal fundamentalist elements, enemies of the nation and religion,” the military said in a statement on Monday.
The statement did not give any further details about the location or the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Sources revealed that the militants had asked the soldiers to get off the bus that was transporting them from Ismaeliyya. The other passengers and the driver were left intact.
Extremist militants have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since 2013, and over the last three months of 2016, 92 terrorist operations were executed in Sinai Peninsula alone, which borders Israel and Gaza.
On Monday, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria commemorated the 40th day that passed since 28 people were killed in an attack that targeted the St. Peter and St. Paul Church in December 2016.
On the memorial day, Pope Tawadros II delivered a speech at the place of the attack during a sermon.
Pope Tawadros II said that the attack was not targeting the church, but all of Egypt.
He thanked President Sisi and all officials who were supportive during the ordeal.
“We deeply thank all Egyptians who expressed condolences and also officials, on top which comes President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and all ministries. Moreover, we thank all foreign officials and ambassadors who also came to mourn the victims of the attack that targeted all Egyptians,” Pope Tawadros II said.
The attack took place during Sunday mass on 11 December. Twenty-five people died when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the women’s section of the St. Peter and St. Paul Church.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was executed by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt.
After Sisi revealed the name of the alleged 22-year-old attacker, the Interior Ministry said it arrested four suspects, including a woman, related to the attack.