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Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza after deadly checkpoint attack

(Xinhua)

10:50, August 06, 2012

CAIRO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Egypt closed Rafah crossing with Gaza Strip after a security checkpoint attack left at least 16 soldiers dead and seven others injured.

"Egypt closed Rafah crossing indefinitely" after masked gunmen attacked a checkpoint south of Rafah on Sunday evening, official MENA news agency quoted a security source as saying late Sunday.

Egyptian President Morsi held an urgent meeting with the army leaders, the interior minister and the head of the intelligence service to discuss the situation.

"This cowardly attack will not go unpunished," said a statement released by the Egyptian presidency. "Those who carried out the attack will pay heavily."

Morsi also offered condolences to the families of those who were killed in the attack. Egypt's security forces are still working to identify the attackers.

The attack happened immediately after sunset prayer during Iftar when the troops were suddenly attacked by masked gunmen, a local security source told Xinhua. After exchanging fire, the attackers escaped and the security forces were still pursuing them.

The sources said an armored vehicle was stolen from the scene. The injured are in serious condition.
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