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Car bombs in Egypt's Sinai target soldiers, military says

Story highlights
  • No one has claimed responsibility so far
  • ISIS has a presence in the Sinai

(CNN) Attackers carried out car bombings Friday on a military checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, leaving soldiers dead and wounded, the military said in a statement.

At least 26 people were killed or injured in the incident; authorities couldn't immediately provide a breakdown of casualties.

Security forces foiled terrorist assaults on other checkpoints south of Rafah, killing 40 of the assailants and destroying six of their vehicles, the military said.

"Currently there is an ongoing clearing and chasing of members of the terrorist group," according to the military.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the latest in a string of assaults in the Sinai, a longtime tourist destination where Egyptian forces have been cracking down on Islamist militants.

Plague of violence

Militancy in the Sinai, in northeastern Egypt, increased dramatically after the army in 2013 toppled President Mohammed Morsy, and ISIS' Sinai affiliate has inflicted hundreds of casualties on Egyptian security forces since linking itself to ISIS in 2014.

ISIS has targeted Egypt's Christian minority in the region, part of a spike in persecution of and discrimination against Egypt's Coptic Christians since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011.

In 2015, a Russian plane was brought down over the Sinai, killing all 224 aboard. The plane departed the Sinai resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh and was headed to St. Petersburg, Russia. Authorities said they believed a terror bombing was the cause. ISIS' Sinai affiliate claimed responsibility.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali, Deborah Bloom and Ali Younes and contributed to this report.