The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai claimed it destroyed an Egyptian navy vessel off the peninsula’s Mediterranean coast with rockets, various news outlets report.
Sinai Province, the ISIS-linked group in Egypt, claimed responsibility for the attack in a brief statement posted on Twitter accounts known to be connected to the jihadist group. The authenticity of the message has not been verified yet.
Nevertheless, TIME reports that “the Egyptian military said in an early statement that a navy vessel had caught fire just off the coast of Sinai following a clash with militants.”
Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir, a spokesman for the Egyptian military, reportedly said in a Facebook post that no one on the vessel was killed in the clash with “terrorists.”
However, the Associated Press (AP) notes that photos “purporting to show what appears to be a rocket flying toward the vessel, a large explosion engulfing most of the boat and then black smoke rising up from the vessel” were posted on the ISIS-linked Twitter accounts that featured the message of the jihadist group taking responsibility for the attack.
The vessel was used to patrol the Egyptian territorial waters and to carry military and civilian personnel to mainland Egypt.
“Egypt’s ISIS affiliate killed at least 17 soldiers in a July 1 attack in the Sinai peninsula. The same group attempted to attack a military post on a highway between Cairo and Suezon Wednesda,” notes TIME. “ISIS said via Twitter it succeeded in killing several soldiers but Egypt’s military denied the claim, saying it foiled the attack.”
“Last week ISIS claimed a bomb attack in front of Cairo’s Italian consulate that killed one person,” it adds. “Militant violence has surged in Egypt since the army overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.”