Soldiers Killed or Wounded in Sinai Attacks

The UAE has also strongly condemned the terrorist attack, targeting a security patrol in Al Masoura district in Qatif province, Saudi Arabia.

Suicide vehicle bomb attacks on military checkpoints in North Sinai, Egypt, have left at least 23 soldiers dead, Egyptian security sources say.

Masked militants then continued the assault on foot.

But that has failed to prevent them from establishing cells elsewhere in Egypt that launched a series of attacks on Christians that have killed dozens since December, when a suicide bomber targeted a Cairo church.

Egypt has accused Hamas of fomenting unrest in the region and aiding the insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, especially in the aftermath of the 2013 ouster of Islamic President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood organization.

Security sources described Friday's attack as a coordinated strike, with auto bombs blowing apart checkpoints as gunmen in four-wheel drive vehicles shot down soldiers running for cover. The militants opened fire on the soldiers with machine guns for almost half an hour, they said.

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"Unidentified gunmen attacked a military barricade in the village of Al-Barth in the city of Rafah", the source, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media, said.

_Ashraf Sweilam in El-Arish, Egypt.

The military put the casualties lower, saying the attacks had killed and injured a total of 26 soldiers, without providing a breakdown of the figure.

The dead included a high-ranking special forces officer, Colonel Ahmed el-Mansi, and at least 20 others were wounded in the attack. It did not name the militants' suspected affiliation.

However, the restive North Sinai is the main focus of the deadly ISIS militancy and the groups affiliated with it have carried out several attacks in the past targetting security forces since the January 2011 revolution that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

  • Douglas Reid