A terrorist ambush in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed seven soldiers and one civilian on Friday.
The Islamic State claimed the deadly attack, Reuters reported, citing security sources.
The attack in the town of Bir al-Abed injured two other soldiers. The Islamic State claimed in its Amaq news agency that 15 of its members had been killed. The claim could not be immediately verified.
The town was the site of a horrific 2017 attack on a mosque by Islamic extremists which killed over 300.
Egypt’s Ministry of Defense claimed Friday that its troops had killed 118 militants in the restive peninsula in the “past period,” the report said.
Egypt has faced surging jihadist violence since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after mass protests against his one-year rule.
The violence has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, which has seen an Islamist uprising against the Egyptian government in recent years, and is home to a branch of the Islamic State. In the past, some Bedouin clans engaged in human trafficking and mass kidnappings for ransom in the center of the peninsula.
In February 2018, the Egyptian army launched a nationwide operation against Islamist forces, mainly focused on the northern Sinai and in the western desert, along the porous border with Libya.
No independent statistics are available and the regions where much of the fighting has taken place are largely cut off to journalists, making verification of casualty figures extremely difficult.
Menwhile on Thursday an Israeli man was reported missing in Egypt and is believed to be somewhere in Sinai.
Aviv Slobodkin, 26, has been traveling throughout Egypt and the Sinai region since September 4. He was last heard from on Sunday, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
Recent Israeli government travel advisories have urged Israelis to avoid the area, but thousands still vacation at popular tourist resorts and beaches on the peninsula’s southern and eastern coasts.
Also in recent days Egypt has been rocked by rare protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Police on Friday blocked streets leading to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime-autocrat Hosni Mubarak, after calls by exiled businessman Mohamed Aly for a “million-man march” in response to government corruption.