CAIRO: Egyptian armed forces have reported that an Islamic militant attack in northern Sinai killed two of its troops and injured four others on Tuesday.
The statement said the military countered the assault on a security checkpoint in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula near the town of Bir al-Abd.
The Egyptian armed forces, backed by air power, killed 18 suspected Islamic militants, one with an explosive belt. The military also said it destroyed four vehicles, including three car bombs.
Authorities severely restrict access to northern Sinai, making it difficult to verify complaints about the fighting.
The official statement provided little detail on the extent of the militant attack. The military also released graphic images of the aftermath of the airstrikes, showing burnt and bloody bodies of suspected militants.
Although the military claimed to have stopped the attack before it took place, the videos posted on social media showed live explosions and smoke floating from what appeared to be a populated neighborhood in the area.
The private university of Sinai announced on Facebook that students blocked due to various roadblocks would be able to sleep in a designated dormitory at the expense of the university.
For over a decade, the Egyptian army has fought an insurgency in northern Sinai, now led by a Daesh affiliate. The fighting intensified after the 2013 military fall of the elected Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, amid mass protests against his government.
The dusty city of Bir al-Abd, about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital of the northern Sinai province of el-Arish, has long been plagued by violent conflict. The deadliest attack by Islamic extremists in modern Egyptian history took place in the area’s mosque in 2017, killing over 300 people.
Most extremist attacks in Egypt occurred in the remote north of Sinai, but militants also targeted police officers, troops and other high-profile targets on the mainland.

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