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Sinai Attack: Bombs And Militants Kill Or Injure 26 Soldiers, Egypt Says

A clash that started with a suicide car bomb at a checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula killed or injured 26 members of Egypt's military and left some 40 militants dead, an Egyptian army spokesman says.

"At least 10 Egyptian soldiers including a colonel were killed," Al Jazeera reports, adding that the militants were killed in a gun battle that began after a suicide car bomber targeted a checkpoint at a military installation in the Rafah area, along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The army says six vehicles were also destroyed. Reports indicate that the military was forced to abandon the checkpoint, at least temporarily.

No group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attack, but both Al Jazeera and the Associated Press say it fits a recent pattern of violence from an extremist ISIS affiliate called Wilayat Sinai.

From the Associated Press:

"Security officials said the militants arrived at the site of the checkpoint — located in a remote, deserted area — in some 24 Land Cruiser SUVs. The militants opened fire on the soldiers with machine guns for nearly half an hour, they said. The force at the compound is estimated at 60 troops.

"After the attack, the militants looted the checkpoint, taking weapons and ammunition. It was unclear if they took over armored vehicles as well."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.