The Islamic State (ISIS/Daesh) has claimed responsibility for an attack on a checkpoint near St Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
The “Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai” is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world, built near the spot where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments from God.
At least one police officer was killed an four others injured by ISIS gunmen, who managed to escape.
The monastery is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and lies some 500 kilometres south-east of Cairo, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the south of the Sinai peninsula.
Islamic State gained popularity in Egypt following the overthrow of former President Mursi by current President SISI.
According to Reuters, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident 800 metres from the entrance to St Catherine’s Monastery.
It also left four other police officers injured.
The attack comes days after 45 people were killed in bomb attacks which struck Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, and ten days before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.
The country’s Christian minority has increasingly been targeted by Islamist militants.
An Islamist insurgency has gained pace in northern Sinai since President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown as president in 2013.
By contrast, such incidents are less common in southern Sinai, which is a popular tourist destination.
St Catherine’s Monastery is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The attack nearby comes ahead of a decision by Russia on whether to resume flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after a Russian airliner was downed in 2015.
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