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4 children said killed in crossfire in Egypt’s Rafah

8 adults also wounded as Egyptian army reportedly battles Sinai terrorists just south of the Gaza Strip

Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, on May 26, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, on May 26, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Four children were reportedly killed and eight adults wounded Thursday in gunbattles between terrorists and troops on the Egyptian side of Rafah, which straddles the Gaza-Egypt border.

The casualties were caught in the crossfire, Israel Radio reported. The report did not detail which terror group was battling with Egyptian forces.

Powerful explosions were heard in the area, the radio said, and reports emerged that mortar shells had been fired.

Earlier Thursday, an Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an attack that killed a colonel and three soldiers in North Sinai, where it is spearheading a deadly insurgency.

Wednesday’s bombing in North Sinai’s provincial capital of El-Arish targeted the troops’ armored vehicle when it was engaged in a search operation, security officials and emergency services said.

Another 12 soldiers were wounded in the blast.

In a statement posted on jihadist forums, IS affiliate the Sinai Province said its members used explosive devices to target the army west of El-Arish.

Jihadists have regularly attacked security forces in the peninsula since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

They say their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown targeting Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands imprisoned.

The authorities say hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed in attacks, mainly in North Sinai, since 2013, although there have also been attacks in the Nile Delta and in Cairo.

Egypt’s branch of IS also said it planted a bomb that caused the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai in October, killing all 224 people on board.

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