By Yusri Mohamed and Ahmed Hassan ISMAILIA, Egypt/CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State insurgents attacked several military checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday in a co-ordinated assault in which at least 70 combatants and civilians were killed -- one of the biggest militant attacks in Egypt's modern history. The action marked a significant escalation in violence in the Sinai Peninsula, located between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal. Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
By Daniel Trotta and Jeff Mason HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba on Wednesday formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties that had been severed for 54 years, fulfilling a pledge made six months ago by the former Cold War enemies. U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, with the Cubans saying that could happen as soon as July 20. "This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.