At least two judges have been killed in a coordinated attack on an Egyptian hotel housing judges tasked with monitoring the country’s parliamentary elections and Sinai Province, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility.
While the group claiming responsibility indicated in a statement posted on Twitter that two of its militants had executed the attack on the hotel, the Swiss Inn Resort in El Arish, the Egyptian military as well as a witness contradicted the number of assailants – claiming that there were three in total, Reuters reported while noting that immediate clarification was not possible.
According to a witness and the military, one of the attackers drove a car bomb into the building – which detonated after security forces opened fire on the car.
The Health Ministry, which only reported two attackers, said that a suicide bomber had broken into the hotel’s restaurant and blown himself up while a second attacker shot a judge to death after having entered the area harboring the guest rooms. A total of 17 people were injured in the attack.
Sinai Province, which the NY Times reports to be one of the more actives ISIL branches, circulated a statement on Twitter in which the IS affiliate said that a “brother” who was “seeking martyrdom” had “hit with his car bomb the security force” in place to protect the hotel in which “50 judges were staying, only to be followed by a lion” who opened fire on the judges with his automatic weapon before detonating “his explosive belt” in their company.
In addition to the two judges the Interior Ministry reported to have been killed in the attack, a civilian as well as four police officers were killed.
According to the military, all three of the attackers were killed.
The attack, which came on the heels of the second round of voting in the country’s parliamentary election, was dismissed by the Egyptian military in a statement as a “failed attempt to hinder the state from building its institutions”.
This brutal incident is a failed attempt to hinder the state from building its institution but we assure all that it will increase the drive and insistence of the armed forces and the Interior Ministry to weed out the roots of terrorism in North Sinai
The attacker who opened fire in the guest rooms managed to kill one of the judges before he was shot by a security official, hotel manager Mohamed Mahana told Reuters.
A third attacker sneaked into the hotel through the side where the guest rooms are and shot passers by, killing one judge, before a security official shot him.
Just last month, the same ISIS branch claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian plane — a tragedy in which all 224 people aboard the jetliner perished.