Egypt says 11 troops killed in militant attack in Sinai

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt’s military says at least 11 troops, including an officer, have been killed in a militant attack in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

The military said in a statement that the militants attacked a water pumping station Saturday east of the Suez Canal. It did not give further details on the location.

The statement said security forces clashes with the attacking militants. It says at least five other troops were wounded in the attack. Troops were pursuing the militants in an isolated area in Sinai, it added.

No group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s ambush, one of the deadliest attacks against Egyptian security forces in recent years.

Last week, suspected militants blew up a natural gas pipeline in Northern Sinai’s town of Bir al-Abd, causing a fire but no casualties.

Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The militants have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and Christians.

The pace of militant attacks in Sinai’s main theater of operations 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.

The fight against militants 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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