IS affiliate in Egypt claims attack on hotel near Pyramids

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 8:37 AM

CAIRO (AP) — An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel near the Giza Pyramids the previous day that authorities said had left no casualties, according to a statement circulated Friday by sympathizers of the militant group.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said no one was hurt in Thursday's incident at the Three Pyramids Hotel, but the attack damaged the hotel's facade and also a bus parked in front of the building. A group of about 15 attackers fired birdshot and flares at the hotel's security post. A suspect was arrested and police were still searching for the rest of the group, the ministry said.

Arab Israeli tourists staying at the hotel said the attackers used flares and live bullets. Israel's Foreign Ministry said no Israelis were hurt.

But a statement carried Friday by IS sympathizers on Twitter claimed there were dead and wounded among the tourists and security officers protecting the hotel.

It said the attackers "were able to target a tourist bus carrying Jews with light weapons" — an operation the IS affiliate claimed was in response to a call by the Islamic State group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "to target Jews everywhere."

The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the claim but it was similar to previous postings by the IS affiliate.

Egypt has been battling an insurgency by Islamic militants in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. Attacks on security forces there have significantly escalated after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. There have also been attacks in the mainland.