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Militants carry out deadly car bomb attack in Egypt's Sinai

Unidentified militants have carried out a car bomb attack on a hotel in north Sinai that is housing election judges. Several people were killed and wounded in the attack, which also involved a gunfight with police.

At least two policemen, a civilian and a judge were killed and around a dozen people, including some civilians, were wounded in the attack on Tuesday on the Swiss Inn hotel in the North Sinai capital of al-Arish, officials and media said.

Security sources said a suicide bomber tried to drive an explosives-laden car into the hotel, but was prevented by police who opened fire on the vehicle, which then exploded, damaging the building.

Several gunmen previously got out of the car near a security checkpoint outside the hotel and exchanged fire with police, media reported.

One of the attackers entered the hotel and shot dead one of the around 50 judges who were staying in the hotel while monitoring the

second phase of Egypt's parliamentary elections,

which closed on Monday.

Security sources later said the bomber and gunmen were killed at the scene, but this has not been confirmed.

Flashpoint region

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region is a

hotbed of Islamist militants

waging an insurgency.

Hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed amid an escalation in jihadist attacks since 2013, when the military overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and unleashed a brutal police crackdown on his followers.

The recent parliamentary elections were the first legislative vote since Morsi's ouster.

tj/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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