At least 11 members of the Egyptian military, including an officer, have been killed in an armed attack on the Sinai Peninsula, an army spokesman has said, adding that the security forces “foiled a terrorist attack” on a water-lifting station east of the Suez Canal.
During the Saturday incident, militants drove into a checkpoint with an explosive-laden vehicle while firing heavy weapons installed on flatbed trucks, Reuters reported, citing security sources.
Five more soldiers were also wounded in the firefight on the eastern Sinai bank of the Suez Canal, the army said.
“The terrorist elements are being pursued and besieged in an isolated area in Sinai,” Egyptian army spokesman Gharib Abdel Hafez said in a statement.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi mourned the death of the troops, vowing in a Facebook post to continue fighting the militants and “uprooting terrorism.”
The military gave no further details or the attack’s precise location, but two northern Sinai residents told Associated Press the attack took place in the town of Qantara in the province of Ismailia, which stretches eastwards from the Suez Canal.
Sinai began witnessing a surge in armed attacks after the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s former democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi.
The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for most of those attacks.