Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 23 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.

IS made the claim late Friday in a statement on its website. Egyptian officials said a suicide car bomber had attacked a military checkpoint in northern Sinai earlier in the day.

In the wake of the attack, which occurred near the border town of Rafah, dozens of masked militants descended on the site in vehicles and shot at the 60 soldiers present with machine guns, security officials said.

When the attack subsided, the militants apparently took weapons and ammunition from the checkpoint before fleeing, the officials said. Some militants were killed in the shootout, and some of their vehicles were abandoned.

According to the IS statement, a second car bomber struck an army convoy sent to reinforce the embattled soldiers. That claim was circulated by supporters and picked up by the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites.

The Friday attack was considered one of the deadliest against the military in the past two years. Egyptian army officials said they had foiled other attacks in the area during the day, part of a coordinated effort.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Egyptian police said they had killed at least 14 militants in raids carried out at a training camp near Ismailia. Officials said the militants were wanted in connection with recent attacks on security forces in the Sinai.

Egypt has been battling an IS insurgency on the peninsula since 2013, when the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi after mass protests.

Some information for this report came from AP.

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