Egypt polls monitor among 4 killed in hotel attack

CAIRO • Islamist militants killed four people in an attack on a hotel in Egypt's North Sinai where judges monitoring elections were staying, the military and Interior Ministry said yesterday.

The militants attacked the Swiss Inn hotel on three fronts. A bomber driving a booby-trapped car was speeding towards the facility in the city of Al-Arish when security forces opened fire, and the vehicle exploded, a military spokesman said on his official Facebook page.

Meanwhile, a second assailant entered the hotel's kitchen and set off his explosive belt. A third militant sprayed another room with gunfire, killing a judge.

Besides the judge, two policemen were killed and the military said a civilian was among the dead. Twelve people were wounded. In addition, all three militants were killed, the military said.

The judges were in the area overseeing the second phase of Egypt's parliamentary vote, which ended on Monday. The election was billed by officials as the final stage in the nation's transition to democracy after the 2011 ouster of thenPresident Hosni Mubarak.

An army armoured vehicle and security personnel at the site of the militant attack in Al-Arish, Egypt, yesterday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

"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," a military statement read.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group's Egyptian affliliate has claimed responsibility for the attack. The assault was the latest in an area that has been the centre of a war between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration and militants of the Sinai Province group.

Sinai Province had also claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian jetliner shortly after takeoff from a Sinai resort last month. That crash killed all 224 on board, threatening to derail a nascent tourism recovery in Egypt.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'Egypt polls monitor among 4 killed in hotel attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe