Security forces have found the body of an Egyptian police officer kidnapped by gunmen this week in the Sinai Peninsula, home to Islamist militants seeking to topple the government, the army spokesman said on Tuesday.
The officer was snatched on Sunday in the border town of Rafah in the volatile north of Sinai, a remote but strategic area that borders Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal.
“At dawn today, the body of the martyr captain Ayman al-Sayed Ibrahim al-Desouki was found… after he was killed by the terrorist elements,” the spokesman said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.
Egyptian security forces had exchanged fire with suspected militants during their search operation, killing 10 of them and confiscating weapons, ammunition and explosives, he added.
Islamic State said on its official news cast earlier on Tuesday that its wing in Sinai had kidnapped the officer.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most lethal militant group, changed its name to Sinai Province last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Sinai Province has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
But kidnappings of police or soldiers are rarer.
Any sign that kidnapping has become a new tactic is likely to raise fresh security concerns in Egypt, where the vital tourism industry and economy have suffered from the violence.
Egypt’s insurgency is concentrated in Sinai, but smaller-scale attacks have also occurred in cities, including Cairo.