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Militants kill 13 policemen in Egypt's northern Sinai

Militants kill 13 policemen in Egypt's northern Sinai

CAIRO: Militants killed 13 Egyptian policemen in an attack Saturday on a checkpoint south of northern Sinai's provincial capital of el-Arish, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said.

“A mortar round was fired at the Safa checkpoint... which resulted in the martyrdom of 13 policemen,” the ministry statement said.

Related: Egypt's Sisi imposes tough anti-terrorism law

A Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement circulated on social media, but the authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

IS said a suicide bomber, identified by the nom de guerre “Abu Al-Qaaqaa the Egyptian”, blew up a car packed with explosives at the checkpoint.

“This was followed by the storming of the checkpoint,” it said in the statement posted on social media.

Related: Russia, Egypt dismiss US, UK claims bomb brought down jet

The local IS affiliate has been targeting Egyptian security forces in Sinai and claimed the downing of a Russian airliner last October that killed 224 people.

That attack prompted Russia to suspend all flights to Egypt, and has lost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism revenues.

Egypt has been hit with a wave of suicide bombings and militant attacks that intensified after the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Related: Self-interest rules after Morsi’s fall

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