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5 Egyptian troops killed in Islamic State attack in northern Sinai

Jihadists ambush a military checkpoint in the town of Sheikh Zuweid; sources say 3 attackers killed by security forces

In this August 6, 2012 file photo, Egyptian border guards patrol near the border with Israel in Rafah, Egypt. (AP/Ahmed Gomaa, File)
In this August 6, 2012 file photo, Egyptian border guards patrol near the border with Israel in Rafah, Egypt. (AP/Ahmed Gomaa, File)

Islamic State group terrorists ambushed a checkpoint in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing at least five troops from the security forces, officials said.

At least six other troops were wounded in the attack in the town of Sheikh Zuweid and taken to a military hospital in the Mediterranean city of el-Arish, they said.

Security personnel killed three terrorists in the firefight, and the area was reinforced, the officials added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Egypt has been battling jihadists in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for years. Violence and instability there intensified after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected but divisive Islamist president, amid nationwide protests against his brief rule.

The terrorists have carried out numerous attacks, mainly targeting security forces, minority Christians, and those who they accuse of collaborating with the military and police.

The pace of IS attacks in Sinai’s main theater and elsewhere has slowed to a trickle since February 2018, when the military launched a massive operation in Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country’s western border with Libya.

In this August 9, 2012 file photo, army trucks carry Egyptian military tanks in El Arish, Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula. (AP, File)

The fight against terrorists in Sinai has largely taken place hidden from the public eye, with journalists, non-residents, and outside observers barred from the area.

The conflict has also been kept at a distance from tourist resorts at the southern end of the peninsula.

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