Jihadists fire ‘US-made ballistic missile’ at Sinai security HQ

El-Arish attack, occurring amid widespread military campaign against Sinai terror cells, leaves three soldiers injured

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Egyptian armored vehicles in Sinai (photo credit: screen capture AlJazeeraEnglish/YouTube)
Egyptian armored vehicles in Sinai (photo credit: screen capture AlJazeeraEnglish/YouTube)

Jihadists attacked the Egyptian security headquarters in northern Sinai ostensibly using an American-made ballistic missile, Egypt’s interior ministry said early Monday morning.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the ministry said the missile, which it said was made by the US, hit the third floor of the building in the city of el-Arish on Sunday evening, injuring three soldiers. Photos of the missile’s tail posted on the Facebook page reveal a small plaque reading “guided missile surface attack.” The missile was reportedly 168 centimeters (66 inches) long, 25 centimeters (10 inches) wide, and fired from “a great distance.”

The ministry did not specify what kind of missile it was.

Egypt has been waging a military campaign to eradicate terrorist cells across Sinai since jihadists attacked a military outpost in el-Arish in July 2011, killing six Egyptian soldiers. The operation was widened following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi on July 3. Since Saturday, the army has been focusing its efforts on northern Sinai in a 48-hour operation dubbed Desert Storm. A total of 17 members of the security forces and at least five civilians have been killed in the area since the July 3 overthrow.

Egyptian security apprehended three suspects in the area surrounding the security building, including one Palestinian citizen, following the attack. The army also engaged two cars driven by gunmen, causing unknown injuries to their passengers, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Monday that one Egyptian soldier was killed and eight wounded in a gunfire attack against an army base in the Egyptian city of Rafah.

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