Gunmen kill 12 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai
Twelve members of Egypt’s security forces have been killed and eight others injured in an attack by gunmen suspected of having links to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the northeastern province of North Sinai.
The Friday assault was carried out at a security checkpoint near the town of Bir al-Abd.
Fifteen of the attackers, who arrived at the checkpoint in all-terrain vehicles, were also killed.
Officials said the attack started with the gunmen opening fire on the checkpoint with light arms and heavy machine guns. Mortar fire followed.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but it had the hallmarks of Velayat Sinai Takfiri terrorists group, previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
Velayat Sinai has been responsible for most attacks in the Sinai Peninsula as well as the capital Cairo. Such attacks have increased since the 2013 ouster by the military of Egypt’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi.
A state of emergency was declared in Sinai in 2014, following a deadly assault that claimed the lives of over 30 soldiers.
In 2015, Egyptian armed forces launched a massive operation against the militants in northern Sinai following coordinated terrorist attacks on several army checkpoints that claimed the lives of 21 soldiers in July the same year.
Velayat Sinai pledged allegiance to Daesh in 2014.