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ISIS Likely Responsible For Extremist Gunfight At Egyptian Temple

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Erica Wenig Contributor
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An attack by jihadis at an Egyptian temple in Luxor on Wednesday was likely perpetrated by a local affiliate of the Islamic State.

One militant’s suicide vest was detonated, and two more stormed a barricade at Karnak temple before security officers killed one man and injured the other, according to The Telegraph. No tourists were killed or injured during the attack, reports The Associated Press.

“I would put the odds on it being the Islamic State,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a terrorism expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Sinai-based, militant group Beit al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last November. But no one has yet claimed responsibility for the temple attack.

“We’ll continue to see the targeting of tourist sites,” said Gartenstein-Ross. North African states, greatly dependent on the tourism industry, are especially vulnerable to attacks. Jihadis attacked tourists at a Tunisian museum in March.

The temple attack is the second assault on Egyptian tourism sites in a week. Gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed two tourism police officers near the Giza pyramids last Wednesday.

This is the first major terrorist attack in Luxor since Islamic militants killed 58 at Hatshepsut Temple in 1997.  Luxor, about 400 miles south of Cairo, is one of Egypt’s most popular tourist attractions, visited by millions every year.

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