Militants Kill 50 Egyptian Soldiers

Militants Kill 50 Egyptian  SoldiersMilitants Kill 50 Egyptian  Soldiers

Militants on Wednesday unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks, including suicide car bombings, on Egyptian Army checkpoints in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 50 soldiers, security and military officials said.

The coordinated morning assaults in Sinai came a day after Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledged to step up the battle against militant attacks and two days after the country's state prosecutor was killed in the capital, Cairo, AP reported.

An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks, saying its members targeted a total of 15 army and police positions and staged three suicide bombings, two of which targeted checkpoints and one that hit an officers' club in the nearby city of Al-Arish.

Egypt's military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir, said some 70 militants attacked five checkpoints in northern Sinai and that Egyptian troops killed 22 of them and destroyed three all-terrain vehicles fitted with anti-aircraft guns.

Two of the six checkpoints attacked Wednesday were completely destroyed, officials said. Army checkpoints in the area routinely have between 50 and 60 soldiers. The IS statement said the two checkpoints were hit by suicide bombers.

The attacks set off fierce fighting between the army and the militants that continued into Wednesday afternoon, the fiercest clashes in decades in the peninsula.