Watch: Egypt Army Crushes Suicide Bombers' Car Before it Explodes in ISIS-Hit Sinai Region

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The car bomb still detonated after it was run over by the Egyptian tank, but the military said that the casualty count was far fewer than what it could have been had the tank not crushed the vehicle. Egyptian Armed Forces/ Facebook

When confronted by suicide bombers armed with machine guns at a crowded checkpoint, an Egyptian army tank crew took decisive action. The tank quickly moved toward the vehicle and rolled over it, crushing the car and immobilizing the suspected attackers. A minute later, the car exploded.

Surveillance footage released by the Egyptian military on Monday captured the incident, which took place at a checkpoint near the city of Arish in the North Sinai region. The area has been plagued by the Sinai Province, an affiliate of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), which has regularly targeted military outposts in the region.

The footage shows more than a dozen vehicles in line at the checkpoint. A car speeds towards the line, driving on the wrong side of the road. It slows as it approaches a group of Egyptian military vehicles.

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The car, circled, approaches the checkpoint at high speed on the wrong side of the road. Egyptian Armed Forces/ Facebook
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An Egyptian tank drives towards the car after it was stopped by military vehicles. Egyptian Armed Forces/ Facebook

People begin to flee their cars in fear of an attack, but the tank moves towards the car, driving over it and leaving the wreckage of the vehicle in the road. The Egyptian military said in a statement that the car's occupants were armed with machine guns, and so the tank took action to avoid a possible firefight.

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The Egyptian tank drives over the car and crushes it. The military said that the car's occupants were armed with machine guns. Egyptian Armed Forces/ Facebook
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The wreckage of the car, circled, is left immobilized in the road as the tank returns to the checkpoint. Egyptian Armed Forces/ Facebook

The military convoy then moves away from the car as people continue to leave their vehicles, before the wrecked car suddenly detonates into huge flames, causing plumes of black smoke to stream into the air and sending debris flying.

According to the military, the explosion killed seven civilians—three men, two women and two children—but the death toll could have been higher than 50 had the tank not limited the attackers' capacity by crushing their vehicle. The military said that the size of the explosion indicated that the vehicle was carrying around 100 kilograms of explosive material.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a target for militants in Egypt in recent years. ISIS claimed responsibility for blowing up a Russian flight over the Sinai Desert in October 2015 after it departed the tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were killed. Recent unrest in the region prompted Israel to close its border with Egypt in April and call on all Israeli citizens to leave the region.

Elsewhere in Egypt, Islamist militants have targeted the Christian minority. The leader of ISIS in Egypt warned Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings after bombings at two churches, one in the second city of Alexandria, a week before the Christian festival of Easter, which killed 45 people.