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Deadly bombings rock Egypt's Sinai peninsula

An Egyptian man stands in an armoured vehicle as residents gather outside a police station in North Sinai's provincial capital of al-Arish after it was targeted by a car bomb on April 12, 2015.
An Egyptian man stands in an armoured vehicle as residents gather outside a police station in North Sinai's provincial capital of al-Arish after it was targeted by a car bomb on April 12, 2015. AFP

Two separate bomb attacks targeting security forces in Egypt's restive Sinai peninsula killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens more on Sunday, officials said.

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Northern Sinai has witnessed a series of attacks targeting Egyptian security forces, many of which have been claimed by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Twitter accounts linked to the group, known as Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for both attacks on Sunday.

Egypt's military said a roadside bomb detonated by militants killed six soldiers and wounded two others in an attack on an armoured military vehicle in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Two of those killed were officers, it said.

The army said in a statement that "terrorist and extremist elements" were behind the blast and that two of those killed were officers.

Later on Sunday, a car bomb targeting a police station in the city of al-Arish, the capital of the North Sinai governorate, killed at least seven people and wounded 44 others, medical sources said, adding that both civilians and members of the security services were among the casualties.

The Interior Ministry said five police officers and one civilian were killed in the explosion, which it described on its official Facebook page as a suicide attack.

The explosion caused heavy material damage, blowing in windows and doors, sources in the city said, adding military helicopters were flying over the area.

In a third incident, gunmen attacked a checkpoint near Rafah, along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, wounding at least three soldiers, medical and security sources said.

The string of attacks highlighted deteriorating security in the region, which has been mired in violence ever since the army's 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Sinai Province, previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has claimed other deadly attacks on soldiers in the Sinai.

It renamed itself last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the ultra-radical Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing US-led air strikes.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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