Five policeman are dead after a daytime assault against a security checkpoint in south-central Egypt. Masked gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a group of officers as they passed by the checkpoint in the el-Wassta district of the southern province of Bani Suief.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry is reporting that 2 officers were also injured in the attack. The gunmen fled the scene and have not been apprehended by police.
There has been no official word from the government as to who is responsible for the drive-by shooting but one Egyptian newspaper is naming a suspect. According to Al Jazeera, the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper Al-Watan has reported the militant organization Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for the attack. It has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Egypt over the last few months.
Rising tide of violence
Attacks on the government have been on the rise since last July when Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohammed Morsi in what some consider a coup. As many as 250 police and soldiers have been killed in anti-government attacks.
Some of the larger attacks include a failed assassination attempt on Egypt’s interior minister in Cairo last September, and a suicide car bombing in December targeting a security office in Mansoura. That car bombing killed 16 people, many of them police officers.