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Two killed in suicide bombing, four beheaded in North Sinai, sources say

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CAIRO (Reuters) – At least two people were killed by a suicide bombing in North Sinai on Thursday, a day after four headless bodies were found there, security and medical sources said.

The victims of the bombing were a civilian and a member of the security forces, the sources said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

An Egyptian military spokesman said in a statement that security forces killed the bomber before he reached a checkpoint, which was his intended target. The spokesman confirmed that a member of the armed forces was killed.

Islamist militants, some linked to Islamic State, are active in the Sinai Peninsula, and security forces launched a major operation there in February last year.

Thursday’s bombing happened at a car park in the town of Sheikh Zuweid, near the border with the Gaza Strip, a security source and a medical source said.

Separately, two security sources said four headless bodies were found in an empty street in the North Sinai town of Bir al-Abd on Wednesday. Their families had reported that the four men, aged 23 to 51, had been kidnapped, the sources said.

A security source and three residents said that militants stopped several cars before taking five people away and forcing them to lie down on the ground. They killed four and kidnapped the fifth, the security source and the residents said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the beheadings via its Amaq agency, saying the four were spies for the Egyptian military. A security source said the security services were trying to find and identify the perpetrators.

Egypt’s State Information Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

Egypt’s military campaign in Sinai was launched after a jihadist attack in November 2017 on a mosque in which hundreds of worshippers died.

The military says hundreds of militants have been killed in the campaign.

(Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Ahmed Tolba, Yusri Mohamed and Haitham Ahmed; writing by Lena Masri; editing by Larry King)

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