CAIRO (AP) — 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.

Al Qaeda Linked Group Claims Fighters Killed by Israeli Drone

In this March 7, 2007, file photo, the Israeli army Heron TP drone, also known locally as the Eitan, flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base in Palmahim, Israel. Egyptian security officials said Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, an Israeli drone fired a missile in the northern Sinai peninsula, killing several suspected Islamic militants and destroying a rocket launcher. (AP)

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.

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