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10 Egyptian soldiers killed in car bomb in northern Sinai, Egyptian army says

July 7, 2017 1:15 P.M. (Updated: July 7, 2017 8:00 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Egyptian army said it killed 40 militants shortly after at least 10 Egyptian soldiers were killed and scores more were injured in a car bomb attack Friday targeting an Egyptian security checkpoint in Rafah in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula.

An Egyptian army spokesperson said that a total of 26 members of Egypt’s armed forces were killed or injured in the explosion, and that later, Egyptian forces “succeeded in foiling a terrorist attack” by killing 40 militants and destroying six vehicles in a subsequent gun battle with soldiers at a checkpoint in Rafah.

The spokesperson said that Egyptian forces were still searching for assailants around the area of the initial explosion, which was reportedly the result of a suicide car bomber who rammed his vehicle into a checkpoint at a military compound in the southern Rafah village of al-Barth, followed by heavy gunfire from dozens of masked fighters on foot.

According to AP news agency, the dead included a high ranking special forces officer, Colonel Ahmed al-Mansi.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, however, a string of similar attacks on Egyptian forces have previously been claimed by the Sinai Province, affiliated to the so-called Islamic State.

Fighting between the Egyptian army and the Sinai Province has escalated since Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi took power from Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, which has since left hundreds killed, including civilians, security forces, and alleged militants.

Over the past few months, at least four deadly attacks have also targeted Egypt's Christian minority, prompting army al-Sisi to declare a state of emergency in the country.

Al-Sisi has come under attack over his violent suppression of Muslim Brotherhood members following his rise to power, which the Egyptian president has argued is necessary to deter future attacks in the Sinai and across Egypt.

Amid the fighting, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented possible extrajudicial execution by Egyptian forces who allegedly staged a counterterrorism raid to cover up the killings.
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