World / Middle East

15 soldiers killed in checkpoint attack in Egypt

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-08-06 06:49

CAIRO - The casualties from a checkpoint attack in Egypt's Sinai rose to 15 dead and seven injured, local security sources said Sunday.

The attack happened immediately after sunset prayer during Iftar when the troops were suddenly attacked by masked gunmen. After exchanging fire, the attackers escaped and the security forces were still pursuing them.

The sources said an armored vehicle was stolen from the scene. The injured are in serious condition.

Security sources said Jihadists were responsible for the attack and they used automatic weapons in the attack at the checkpoint at Liberty Square, south of Rafah City.

The attackers tried to flee the scene with two vehicles to the Gaza Strip, official MENA news agency quoted a security source as saying.

MENA also said Egypt closed its Rafah crossing with Gaza following the incident.

After the deadly incident, Egyptian President Morsi has called for an urgent meeting with the country's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Since the turmoil early last year, the security situation in Sinai has deteriorated. Hardline Islamists belonging to Jihad movements attacked police stations while local Bedouins committed several kidnappings of foreign tourists. The pipeline which exported natural gas to Israel and Jordan was also attacked more than ten times.

In late July 2011, dozens of armed men attacked a police station in Arish, capital of North Sinai, leaving six policemen dead and more than ten injured.

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