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Several killed in two bomb blasts in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula

A number of people have been killed and many more wounded in two separate explosions in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. An Islamist extremist group has claimed responsibility for the first blast.

According to Egyptian security officials on Sunday, initial indications were that a car bomb had caused a large explosion that hit one of the main police stations in El-Arish, the capital of Sinai Peninsula.

At least one person was killed and more than a dozen others wounded in the blast, and one report suggested that the police station was on fire. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

This came just hours after six Egyptian soldiers were killed and two others injured in an attack on the armored vehicle they were travelling in on a road south of El-Arish. A statement released by the army blamed the roadside bombing on "terrorist and extremist elements."

Later, the Islamist extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for that attack on its Twitter account.

Last year, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the head of "Islamic State" militant group, which has seized large swathes of territory in Syria and northern Iraq over the past year.

Egypt's army has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, which picked up steam after former army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ousted his democratically elected Islamist predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, in mid-2013.

pfd/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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