EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — An Egyptian militant group claimed responsibility Sunday for twin suicide bombings that targeted a military checkpoint and a tourist bus, killing at least one soldier and wounding nine in southern Sinai.
In a statement posted on militant websites, the al-Qaida-inspired group Champions of Jerusalem told the Egyptian army: "We will not rest until we achieve retribution for the blood and honor of the Muslims."
The group has been behind the deadliest attacks against military and police installations in Egypt following the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year. Another new group, known as Egypt's Soldiers has claimed responsibility for several smaller bombings targeting individual officers.
Security officials fear the attacks on troops will intensify ahead of presidential elections scheduled for later this month. Retired Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former military chief who oversaw Morsi's ouster, is the front-runner.
In a boost to el-Sissi, the ultraconservative Islamist Al-Nour party publicly endorsed him for presidency. In a statement published Sunday, the Salafi party said after meeting with el-Sissi and his opponent, leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, it decided to support the former military chief.
"He has a strategic vision that qualifies him to run the country. Things will work under him," Younis Makhyoun, the party leader, told private television station CBC. "He has no intention to exclude anybody."
Al-Nour party, formerly allied with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, came in second with nearly a quarter of the parliament seats in the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections. It later fell out with the Brotherhood, complaining that it was monopolizing power.
It was not clear if al-Nour can galvanize Islamists to support the former army chief. The party supported the military overthrow of Morsi, a move that has cost it support.
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