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Jan 20, 11:36 AM EST

Turkey's military says the Islamic State group has killed five Turkish soldiers and wounded nine others in a bomb attack in a northern Syrian town


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ISTANBUL (AP) -- The Islamic State group on Friday killed five Turkish soldiers and wounded nine others in a car bomb attack in a northern Syrian town, Turkey's military said.

A military statement said the attack occurred in the village of Sulfaniyeh, near Al-Bab, a town that opposition Syrian fighters with Turkish backing are trying to retake from IS militants.

The new deaths raise to 54 the total number of Turkish losses since August, when Turkey launched its offensive in northern Syria.

IS said in a statement that one of its members blew up his motorcycle near an area where Turkish soldiers and Syrian fighters gathered in Sulfaniyeh. The statement said that the attack also damaged a number of vehicles.

The Turkish military said none of the wounded soldiers was in serious condition. The statement conveyed condolences to the families of the slain soldiers and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Earlier, Turkish armed forces said they had hit more than 200 Islamic State group positions in northern Syria and killed 23 militants in operations on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said IS "is now fleeing completely" from Al-Bab.

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