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IS group claims its fighters were behind attacks that killed 26 people

Targets included an army base, a hotel, a police club and several checkpoints in Sinai.

Image: AMR NABIL/AP/PA

AT LEAST 26 people were killed and several others were wounded when militants fired rockets and set off a car bomb Thursday in the Sinai Peninsula.

The officials say the attacks rocked three cities and towns this evening, targeting an army base, a hotel, a police club and several checkpoints. Reuters also reports that the office of the state newspaper al-Ahram was “completely destroyed”. The militants used a car bomb and fired mortar rounds.

The deadly assaults were swiftly claimed by the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group that has captured chunks of territory in Syria and Iraq. They quickly sent out a tweet, claiming they ”executed extensive, simultaneous attacks in the cities of El-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah”.

Sinai is the home of an Islamic State affiliate previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has launched several attacks against the police and the army in recent years. The attacks have intensified since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

“Terrorist elements have attacked several police and army headquarters and facilities using explosive-laden vehicles and rockets,” the military said in a statement, adding there was an exchange of fire between troops and militants.

With AFP 

Read: Egypt declares state of emergency in Sinai after bomb kills 30 soldiers>

Read: Court drops murder charges against ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak>

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