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Death toll of Thursday's Sinai attacks rises to 16

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Apr 2015
Egyptian army
The Egyptian army in Sinai (Photo: Reuters)
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Eleven Egyptian soldiers died after succumbing to fatal injuries to take the death toll of the latest militant attacks in North Sinai to 16,  an army spokesman said on Saturday.

Brigadier General Mohamed Sami also said on his Facebook page that 35 "terrorist elements" were killed and many others injured in raids by Egyptian military forces on Thursday in North Sinai's Arish and Sheikh Zuweid.

He said six four-wheel drive vehicles and two pick-ups were destroyed in the attacks. Two bomb-laden ambulances and a hijacked garbage truck were also destroyed, the statement says.

Militant attacks on military checkpoints near the cities of Sheikh Zuwaid and Al-Arish took place on Thursday. Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for the attacks the following day.

In a statement published on Twitter as well on several pro-jihadist websites, the group said it had launched simultaneous attacks on several checkpoints on the highway between Al-Arish and Rafah city using automatic guns and RPGs.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to Islamic state in November 2014 and changed its name to Sinai Province, although in the Egyptian media it is still commonly known by its original moniker. 

Egypt's army has been fighting an Islamist insurrection based in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula, which has heightened since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The violence has mainly targeted security forces, killing hundreds.

Hundreds of alleged militants have been arrested or killed in the military campaign launched to combat the violence. Civilians have also been caught up in the violence.

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