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Militants flatten mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Velayat Sinai militants, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, with a group of hostages in Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula. (© AFP)

Unidentified militants have launched an attack against a mosque in Egypt’s violence-plagued Sinai Peninsula, leveling it to the ground.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, said the militants stormed the al-Rifa'i Mosque in the town of Sheikh Zuweid, situated 334 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo, on Monday, firing rocket-propelled grenades. The mosque was flattened as a result of the assault, Arabic-language Sky News Arabia satellite news network reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the act of sacrilege.

The development came a day after Velayat Sinai militants, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, exploded a section of a natural gas pipeline in the city of el-Arish, situated 344 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of Cairo.

A state of emergency has been declared in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula since a militant attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint killed more than 30 soldiers in October 2014.

Egyptian army forces patrol a street in the North Sinai border town of Rafah on November 4, 2014. (© AFP)

 

On May 22, Velayat Sinai Takfiris kidnapped an injured Egyptian soldier from an ambulance, and later killed him in Sheikh Zuweid. Egyptian security forces recovered the body of the victim hours later.

The Egyptian military views the Sinai Peninsula a sanctuary for extremists, who use the volatile region as a launch pad for their “acts of terror.”

Gunmen have intensified terrorist attacks in Sinai ever since Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was toppled in a military coup led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s current president and the then army commander, in July 2013.

Velayat Sinai terrorists have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in Sinai Peninsula. Last November, the group pledged allegiance to the ISIL terrorist group which is now wreaking havoc primarily in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

MP/NN/HMV


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