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MANAMA: Bahrain has reiterated its support for Egypt, branding terrorist attacks on army checkpoints in the north of the country yesterday as "despicable and cowardly".

At least 17 soldiers and three civilians were killed when gunmen, believed to be members of the Islamic State (IS) in Egypt, simultaneously opened fire with assault rifles and grenade launchers at five checkpoints.

The soldiers were killed in the main attack on an army checkpoint south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, which also left 19 wounded, according to security officials.

Four other attacks on army checkpoints at about the same time killed as many as three civilians and wounded 13 more, they said.

Initial reports suggested 15 militants also died in the fighting.

It was feared soldiers were taken hostage when militants seized two armoured vehicles in the main attack and drove away.

However, the attackers failed to capture a US-made Abrams tank because its crew drove it to a nearby army checkpoint, the officials said.

"The ministry expresses sincere condolences of the kingdom to the victims, their families and the government and people of Egypt, as well as wishes a swift recovery to those injured in this despicable and cowardly terrorist attack," Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Reiterating the kingdom's support for Egypt in its efforts to enforce security and stability across its territories by combating terrorists who jeopardise the safety of citizens, the ministry stressed the need to eradicate terrorism and cement international peace.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Apr 3, 2015
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