Deadly attack near Egypt's old monastery

Egypt: ISIS Gunmen Attack St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai

Egypt: ISIS Gunmen Attack St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai

On Wednesday, the interior ministry said security forces killed a gunman suspected of killing a policeman and wounding three others near St Catherine's monastery in south Sinai the day before.

The remote 6th-century monastery is located in the desert at the foot of Mount Sinai in the southern part of the volatile Sinai Peninsula. Pope Francis plans to visit Egypt next week.

According to the same source, a second policeman was killed Thursday afternoon when another police vehicle struck a roadside bomb while passing the Al-Obour district of Al-Arish.

While the militant group has wreaked havoc in the northern Sinai in the past few years, southern Sinai had not seen major Daesh activity before Tuesday's attack.

The attack comes just over a week after two bombings on Egyptian churches during Palm Sunday services, claimed by Islamic State, killed 45 people.

According to a statement released by the Military spokesperson, the leader was the head of the Sharia committee in the group and was responsible for interrogations. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and a popular destination for tourists and visitors to the Red Sea. The attack on St. Catherine's Monastery comes as a fresh challenge to President Sisi, who had vowed to protect the minority community during his campaign against extremism.

Last December, a bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo claimed by ISIS killed at least 30 people and injured dozens of others during Sunday Mass.

The Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the shooting attack, has led an insurgency operation in the Sinai Peninsula through its local affiliate in an attempt to oust President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi's regime.

Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, have also long complained of suffering discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at the hands of the country's majority Muslim population.

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