Gunmen attacked security forces near St Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Egypt’s south Sinai on Tuesday, killing at least one police officer and injuring four others, the Health Ministry announced, just a week after two deadly church bombings killed 45 innocent victims in Egypt.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on a police checkpoint about 800 metres from the entrance to the monastery, one of the world’s most important Christian sites.
The attack comes just 10 days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt and just over a week after two deadly suicide bombings on Christian churches, also claimed by IS, plunged the country into mourning and marked one of the bloodiest days for the country’s Christian minority in decades.
St Catherine’s was founded in the 6th century and located at the foot of Mount Sinai, it is one of the oldest Greek Orthodox Christian monasteries in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site.
In February, thousands of Christian families and students fled North Sinai province after a spate of targeted killings.
Security sources said security had been put on high alert at tourist facilities across southern Sinai after the attack.