Scores killed in North Sinai unrest

  • 20/07/2015
Smokes rises from an Egyptian coastguard vessel on the coast of northern Sinai (Reuters)
Smokes rises from an Egyptian coastguard vessel on the coast of northern Sinai (Reuters)

Egypt's military has confirmed 59 militants and seven soldiers have been killed in fighting in North Sinai, including three soldiers in a checkpoint rocket attack.

It said a total of seven soldiers were killed on Saturday (local time), after previously saying three died in a checkpoint rocket attack which was claimed by IS.

The statement also said troops killed 59 militants.

"The men of the armed forces backed by air support targeted several terrorist dens on Saturday," the statement said, listing 14 sites where operations took place.

The military is battling militants loyal to the jihadist Islamic State group (IS) in North Sinai where an Islamist insurgency has grown over the past two years.

On Saturday, it had said 20 militants were killed in an assault on a jihadist hide-out, and posted on Facebook a video of air strikes on a building and two trucks.

The army also said four militants were captured and troops were still counting "terrorists killed in the air campaign".

Jihadists, mainly in Sinai, have carried out a series of brazen attacks, killing hundreds of members of the security forces since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

In a sweeping two-year campaign, the army claims to have killed more than 1100 militants in North Sinai bordering the Palestinian Islamist-run Gaza Strip and Israel.

Militants say their attacks are in retaliation for the brutal crackdown on Morsi supporters in which hundreds of people have been killed and thousands jailed.