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Gunmen Attack Popular Religious Tourism Site In Sinai

In a 2013 photo, visitors leave St. Catherine's Monastery, a major religious tourism site in southern Sinai. Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near the monastery Tuesday, killing one security officer and wounding four.
In a 2013 photo, visitors leave St. Catherine's Monastery, a major religious tourism site in southern Sinai. Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near the monastery Tuesday, killing one security officer and wounding four.

There's been an attack by gunmen near a prominent religious tourism site in southern Sinai but Egyptian authorities say no tourists were involved. One security officer was killed and four others injured.

Egypt's interior ministry says a group of gunmen had been hiding in nearby mountains and opened fire on a checkpoint on the road near St. Catherine's Monastery.

The ancient monastery is built on the site where the Bible says Moses was given a sign from God in the form of a burning bush. It's one of Egypt's most important tourist sites and about 130 miles from the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.

The Islamic State group has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. Egypt has been fighting the group in north Sinai province for several years but attacks in south Sinai are rare.

The Associated Press notes that "the attack ... comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and the coastal city of Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday." Pope Francis plans to visit Egypt next week.

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