Middle East

Jihadist group claims downing of Egypt army helicopter

Egyptian military vehicles are positioned near Cairo's Tahrir square on January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / AHMED TARANH

CAIRO: An Al-Qaeda inspired group has claimed it shot down an Egyptian military helicopter in the Sinai peninsula, in what the army said was an accident that killed five soldiers.

The Ansar Beit al-Madqis group, which has taken responsibility for a series of deadly attacks across the country, said its fighters brought down the helicopter on Saturday with a missile.

The military issued a statement saying five soldiers were killed in a helicopter "accident" as they pursued militants in the restive peninsula.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis said the helicopter was shot down near the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwayed with a "surface-to-air missile, killing all its crew."

The group's statement was published on a forum used by Islamist militant groups to claim responsibility for attacks.

Scores of soldiers and policemen have been killed in militant attacks since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

The attacks have spread to the capital, which saw five bombings over a 24-hour period on Friday and Saturday that left six people dead.





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