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2 soldiers killed and 12 injured in suicide attack on checkpoint in Rafah

Two armed forces soldiers were killed and 12 others were injured in an armed attack on the Dawwar Rafia checkpoint in Rafah yesterday, according to medical sources who spoke to Mada Masr, adding that the victims were transferred to a military hospital in Arish.

In a statement yesterday, the Armed Forces spokesperson announced that they were able to prevent a suicide attack on a security checkpoint in North Sinai in a struggle that resulted in the deaths of five of the attackers and two soldiers, in addition to the injury of two “takfiri elements.”

The Islamic State organization claimed responsibility for both attacks without mentioning the number of those killed or injured among the Armed Forces.  

Hours after the Rafah attack, a ranked captain and a civilian aboard a taxi in the North Sinai security directorate were injured by gunshots. The attack took place on El-Eshrini street, off the international coastal road in Arish, according to security sources.

An armed group ambushed the taxi that carried the captain, who was dressed in civilian clothes, resulting in his injury as well as that of the driver. Eyewitnesses said they heard gunshots after the incident, probably the result of the exchange of fire between gunmen and police forces around the area and on the coastal road.

Shortly after the incident, residents heard a loud explosion on the coastal road, which was the result of a controlled detonation at the hands of security forces, who had discovered an explosive device planted on the side of the coastal road. Several security sources confirmed that there were no injuries or casualties, noting that the road was blocked off for several hours.

An eyewitness told Mada Masr that hours earlier, security forces had exchanged fire with gunmen in a private vehicle also near the coastal road. The clashes lasted for 20 minutes before security forces combed the area, capturing two suspects.

According to another eyewitness, Arish has seen an increase of masked gunmen over the past week, especially at night, where they have been spotted in the residential area of Albatal neighborhood, harassing inhabitants and demanding to be let into their homes. Before the intruders left, the residents were instructed to close their windows and not look out. The eyewitness added that the residents could not distinguish whether the masked individuals were terrorists or part of a police force.

Police forces had set up permanent blockades surrounding the area in mid-August, taking place during a 15-day security forces campaign in Arish, during which communication networks were cut off and all entry points into the city monitored and blocked.

The south Arish neighborhood of al-Zohour has seen the return of the primary school director a week after his abduction by gunmen. The group responsible for the kidnapping remains unknown.