At least one police officer was killed and four more were injured in a gunfire attack that occurred on Tuesday at a security checkpoint located near St. Catherine’s Monastery in southern Sinai.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack through Amaq, a news agency that is known to be asssociated with the extremist group.
St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was established in the 6th century, is one of the most significant Christian landmarks in the region. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is known to have contained ancient Bible texts and manuscripts. Thousands of tourists visit the site each year to not only see the landmark itself, but also to hike up further to visit a site which contains a tree that is traditionally said to be related to the burning bush that Moses had witnessed.
The attack comes just over a week after two Coptic churches were bombed on Palm Sunday, killing 47, the deadliest incident experienced by the Christian community in Egypt in decades. Since the Palm Sunday attack, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared a three-month-long state of emergency in the nation.
It also comes a little more than one week before a visit from the Pope, who was set to attend an international peace conference.
The Islamic State has been increasingly targeting Christians in the country over recent months, and reports say that the extremist group’s attacks in general have become more and more sophisticated.
About 10 percent of Egypt’s population identify as Christian.
According to a Reuters report, Egyptian security forces found and killed a gunman suspected of carrying out the attack on Wednesday.