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Egyptian president decries attack that killed 22 soldiers on Libyan border

Egyptian soldiers, carrying coffins of troops killed in Farafra, marched at a funeral at Almaza military airport.

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY via European pressphoto agency

Egyptian soldiers, carrying coffins of troops killed in Farafra, marched at a funeral at Almaza military airport.

CAIRO — The death toll from a brazen attack on a border post in Egypt’s western desert along the border with Libya has risen to 22 troops, including three officers, the military said Sunday.

The attack Saturday was the deadliest suffered by Egypt’s military in recent history. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the country’s former military chief, called the assault a terrorist attack and said it would not go unpunished. He also declared a three-day mourning period.

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‘‘The heinous crime that took these brave souls and spilled their blood will not go unanswered,’’ a statement from the presidency said. ‘‘Terrorism will be uprooted from every part of Egypt.’’

Speaking Sunday to a few family members of those killed in the attack, Sissi said the soldiers died in the service of their country.

‘‘For the first time Egypt is targeted in this manner,’’ he said. ‘‘Look around you! This is the biggest crisis facing not only Egypt but the whole region.’’

Sissi spoke to the families ahead of a funeral held in a military airport in Cairo which was only aired on television after it was finished.

‘‘I wish it was me,’’ Sissi said. ‘‘I wish it was me so I wouldn’t stand before you now like this.’’

Military spokesman Brigadier General Mohammed Samir posted the names of the dead on his official Facebook page.

Gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked the border post in the country’s largest province al-Wadi al-Gedid, which straddles the Libyan and Sudanese borders, before sundown Saturday, causing an explosion in the ammunition warehouse.

Three attackers were killed in brief clashes.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt’s former military chief, attended the funeral at a military airport.

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY via European pressphoto agency

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt’s former military chief, attended the funeral at a military airport.

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