Gunmen attack checkpoints, cement factory in Egypt

On  August 7, 2012, relatives mourn one of the 16 soldiers killed during an attack on a border crossing post in Northern Sinai.

Story highlights

  • Egypt readies to block Gaza tunnels
  • One officer and one civilian are wounded
  • The violence comes just days after another attack in Sinai

Masked gunmen launched six simultaneous attacks in Egypt's North Sinai early Wednesday, wounding a police officer and a civilian, said Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of North Sinai security.

The targets included five security checkpoints and a military cement factory, he said.

Bakr had said earlier that two officers were wounded, but he later said it was one officer and one civilian.

The violence comes just days after another attack in Sinai.

Sixteen Egyptian soldiers were killed and seven wounded Sunday when assailants with semiautomatic weapons and hand grenades stole two armored vehicles from Egyptian forces and tried to enter Israel.

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That attack took place near the Rafah border crossing, and prompted Egypt to move to block hundreds of smuggling tunnels into the Gaza Strip, according to Bakr.

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"The engineers armed forces brigades arrived with heavy machinery, bulldozers, cranes that arrived on flat beds trucks and some equipment has been transported by planes. The operation's objective is (to) block all tunnels used to smuggle illegal products and humans into Gaza. The actual work has not started yet, but they are in the planning process," he said Tuesday.

Israel blamed militants associated with the group Global Jihad for Sunday's attack. Egyptian military officials called the assailants "enemies" of the nation, while the Muslim Brotherhood said the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was behind the killings.

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