Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula
Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai PeninsulaAFP photo

An Al-Qaeda-linked group based in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt that targeted Egypt’s interior minister last week.

“God has allowed your brothers in Ansar Beit al-Maqdis [the Sinai-based group] to shatter the security organization of the murderer Mohammed Ibrahim through a martyrdom operation,” the group said in an online statement which appeared on Islamist forums and quoted by AFP.

The attempted assassination occurred as a car bomb ripped through the interior minister’s convoy as he was leaving home for work on Thursday.

One person was killed but Ibrahim, who was travelling in an armored car, survived the attempt unhurt.

The terrorist group apologized in the statement “for not killing the tyrant,” pledging more attacks against Ibrahim and the commander of Egypt’s military, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is an extremist Salafist group that has in the past claimed responsibility for an attempted rocket attack on the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

The claim of responsibility comes as the Egyptian army continues a counter-terror offensive in the Sinai, which started over the weekend and entered its second day on Sunday.

Apache helicopters reportedly hit targets in northern Sinai near the Rafiah border crossing with Hamas-ruled Gaza, witnesses said.

At least 10 Islamist terrorists were killed as Egypt's army launched an air and ground assault on terrorists in the restive Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, security officials said.

Egypt closed the Rafiah crossing on Saturday, citing "security concerns" following the crackdown on Sinai terrorists, reported the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

The Sinai has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the terror attacks have only increased since the removal of Mubarak’s successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.