The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a sophisticated, multipronged attack against at least six army and police stations in Egypt Wednesday. Approximately 70 militants used RPGs and mortars to besiege the main police station of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, according to Egyptian officials.
"We are under siege, the militants didn't storm inside it so far, or else I wouldn't be speaking to you right now," said Colonel Mohamed Soliman to Daily News Egypt from inside the police station.
Clashes are ongoing between forces of the Egyptian Army and the and State of Sinai, an Islamic-State affiliated group, which claimed credit for attacking 15 Egyptian Army and police checkpoints on social media. Security officials say at least 60 Egyptian soldiers were killed in the attacks.
Two of the six checkpoints the Islamic State attacked were completely destroyed, officials said according to the Associated Press.
"Our forces returned fire, killing 22 terrorists and destroying three land cruiser vehicles loaded with 14.5mm anti-aircraft weapons. Ten of our valiant armed forces were martyred thus far. Our forces continue to comb the areas around the site of the attacks in order to eliminate what's left of the terrorists. Clashes are continuing," said Egypt's military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir in a statement on his official Facebook page, the Jewish Press reported.
Daily News Egypt reported that the militants took captives and seized several armored vehicles. An Egyptian Army Apache gunship was able to destroy one of the armored carriers as militants tried to drive the captured vehicle away, AP reports Egyptian officials said.
The attacks come just days after the Islamic State assassinated Egypt's chief prosecutor and attorney general, Hisham Barakat, in Cairo. Nine other people died in that car bombing which wounded dozens.