CAIRO — The Islamic State jihadist group said it carried out a missile attack on an Egyptian navy vessel off North Sinai on Thursday, the first such incident in a two-year insurgency.
The group’s Egyptian affiliate claimed it fired a “guided missile” at the patrol boat north of Rafah, which neighbors the Gaza Strip, in a statement posted on one of its social media accounts.
It posted three pictures showing what appeared to be a guided anti-tank missile striking the vessel and causing a large fireball.
The military had earlier said one of its boats came under attack and was set on fire while pursuing militants, but that it suffered no losses.
Other navy boats rescued the crew as their vessel spewed a plume of smoke, said an AFP photographer across the border in the Gaza Strip.
They boarded the vessel, which stayed afloat, to extinguish the flames.
Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group have killed scores of Egyptian soldiers and policemen in the Sinai Peninsula since the army’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The militants have also carried out attacks west of the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai from the rest of Egypt.