The arm of the Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for several attacks against military targets in the Sinai Peninsula which left at least 25 dead in the worst episode of anti-government violence in recent months.

Several rockets were launched against police stations, a military base and a military hotel in Al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province. At least 25 military personnel and police were killed and 58 other people were injured, including nine civilians and medical personnel.

In the same wave of attacks, one car bomb exploded in the back of the military base and several checkpoints were also targeted - an Army major was killed at a checkpoint in Rafah and four soldiers were wounded in an attack on another checkpoint close to Al-Arish.

The Al-Ahram newspaper announced that their newsroom in Al-Arish, located in front of the military installations targeted in the attack, were "completely destroyed", although it is not clear whether the newspaper was also one of the targets.

After the Islamists had claimed responsibility for the attacks, one of its militants was killed while trying to place a bomb in a power station in Port Said, according to local authorities.

Analysts cited by international agencies believe that the Thursday attacks revealed a degree of unprecedented coordination.

The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, shortened a visit to the Ethiopian capital for an African Union summit, and returned to his country because of Thursday's attacks.In a statement published on his Facebook page, the Armed Forces of Egypt said the Thursday attacks are a demonstration of the success of the pressure that has been exerted on Islamist militants.

The US State Department has condemned the attacks: The United States remain steadfast in their support for the Egyptian government's efforts to fight the terrorist threat in Egypt, as part of a strategic commitment between the two countries.

The Egyptian government faces, on the one hand, an Islamist insurgency with its epicenter in northern Sinai and on the other hand, the growing discontent with security policy with a heavy hand across the country.

The group that calls itself 'Sinai Province' claimed responsibility for the attacks in a series of messages posted on the Twitter account of Ansar al-Maqdis.  The most active group in Egypt, changed its name to Sinai Province last year, after swearing allegiance to the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group that won large slices of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Hundreds of military personnel and police have been killed since the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, in July 2013. Although the Brotherhood deny any connection to Islamic extremists, the Government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi does not distinguish between them in its response to the jihadist threat.