ISIL mortar kills 15 Egyptian police at Sinai checkpoint

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A mortar attack launched by an affiliate of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) killed 15 Egyptian policemen at a North Sinai checkpoint on March 19.

_88859817_egyptarish4641115The attack, which occurred in El-Arish, killed two police captains, a first lieutenant and 12 conscripts, an Egyptian Interior Ministry statement said on March 20.

The North Sinai-based militant group Sinai Province, which is affiliated with ISIL, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement on Twitter, ISIL said the attack was “part of a series of operations in response to the humiliation and searching of Muslim women at checkpoints.”

Government forces later killed five of the militants who carried out the attack, officials said.

Sinai Province has killed hundreds of soldiers and police in the Sinai Peninsula and has also started to attack western targets in Egypt.

President Abdul Fatah Sisi, the former military chief who led the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, describes Islamic militancy as an existential threat to Egypt, which is an ally of the United States.