A dozen Egyptian troops killed in checkpoint attack

ISIL fires mortars and and attacks checkpoint with assault rifles, killing 12 soldiers in restive North Sinai province.

At least 12 members of Egypt’s security forces have been killed and six wounded in an attack on a checkpoint in North Sinai province.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) quickly claimed responsibility for the attack. 

ISIL fighters armed with assault rifles and heavier weapons on Friday attacked a checkpoint about 40km from the town of Bir al-Abd, sources told Reuters news agency.

“An armed group of terrorist elements attacked a security checkpoint in North Sinai this morning using four-wheel drives and were immediately engaged. Our forces killed 15 terrorists,” the Egyptian military said in a statement.

Bir al-Abd has so far been largely spared the violence that has rocked northern Sinai over the past three years.

The armed group staging attacks pledged allegiance to ISIL in 2014 and adopted the name Sinai Province. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen, and has started to hit Western targets within Egypt.

The group claimed the bombing last year of a Russian airliner carrying tourists home from a Sinai resort. All 224 people on board were killed.