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Militants kill seven Egyptian soldiers in Sinai: Report

Islamic State group claims responsibility for attack, saying it killed 15 troops
Egyptian military has struggled to defeat IS in Sinai (AFP/File photo)

Seven Egyptian soldiers and one civilian were killed in Sinai on Friday in an attack claimed by Islamic State (IS) group militants, Reuters news agency reported, citing security sources. 

IS said via its Amaq news agency that at least 15 Egyptian troops were killed in its ambush near Bir al-Abed in northern Sinai.

Egypt has been for years battling Sinai-based militants waging attacks against civilian and military targets and killing hundreds of people across the region, but has so far been unsuccessful in rooting them out. 

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In 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, an established militant group in Sinai, pledged allegiance to IS and changed its name to Sinai Province, claiming to be an IS branch. 

As the Egyptian military has struggled to defeat the group, which has launched attacks on tourists, security forces and houses of worship, it has also been accused of committing war crimes against civilians in the area.

Friday's attack coincided with a massive crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters in Cairo and across the country.