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  • Egyptian police inspect cars at a checkpoint in North Sinai on Jan. 31, 2015

    Egyptian police inspect cars at a checkpoint in North Sinai on Jan. 31, 2015 | Photo: AFP

A bomb explosion has killed 13 people according to AFP reports. 

A mortar attack on a checkpoint in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula killed 13 policemen on Saturday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but said in a statement that it had deployed a suicide bomber who blew up a car at the checkpoint, which jihadists then raided.

The attack was the deadliest in months in Sinai, where IS's Egyptian branch is waging an insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

The interior ministry said the attack took place at a checkpoint near El-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

"A mortar round was fired at the Safa checkpoint... which resulted in the martyrdom of 13 policemen," the ministry statement said.

"IS said a suicide bomber, identified by the nom de guerre "Abu Al-Qaaqaa the Egyptian", blew up a car packed with explosives at the checkpoint.

"This was followed by the storming of the checkpoint," it said in a statement posted on social media accounts.

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