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Militant group in Egypt's Sinai says its fighters were target of deadly Israeli drone strike

An al-Qaida-linked group active in the Sinai Peninsula says its fighters were the target of a rare Israeli drone strike into Egyptian territory.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, in a statement posted on a militant website Saturday, said that four of its members were killed in the Friday attack as they were preparing a cross-border rocket strike into Israel. It said the dead were from Egyptian Sinai tribes. The group said the rocket squad's leader escaped.

Egyptian security officials speaking anonymously Friday said that a drone firing from the Israeli side of the border had killed five suspected militants. The conflicting death tolls could not be reconciled.

Israel maintained official silence about the strike, while an Egyptian military spokesman later denied the report but did not provide another cause for the explosion.