Seven Egyptian troops were killed and 14 others injured in a spate of militant attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula on Sunday.
Five army troops were killed when militants attacked their patrol in North Sinai’s city of Sheikh Zuweid, a local security source told Anadolu Agency.
Snipers also shot dead an army officer as troops raided a village in Sheikh Zuweid, the source added anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
In another attack, a roadside bomb struck a police vehicle as it was passing in southern Sheikh Zuweid, killing a policeman and injuring two others, the source said.
Meanwhile, 12 troops were injured in two separate attacks in the same city on Sunday.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came only two days after 12 army soldiers were killed in a daring militant attack on a military checkpoint in the restive peninsula.
In response, the Egyptian army launched airstrikes on what it described as “militant hideouts” in North Sinai.
Military spokesman Mohamed Samir said early Monday that 18 militants had been killed and caches of weapons seized during the operation.
The spokesman, however, put the death toll of army troops during the offensive at three.
Since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi — Egypt’s first freely-elected president — was ousted in a military coup, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel have been killed in Sinai amid an ongoing militant insurgency.
Egyptian security forces have continued to wage a fierce campaign, involving elements from both the police and army, against what they describe as Sinai-based “terrorist groups”.
Egypt’s army-backed authorities say they are battling the “Welayat Sinai” (“Province of Sinai”), which is said to have links to the Daesh terrorist group.