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Militant attack leaves five Egyptian soldiers dead in Sinai

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Egyptian army soldiers stand guard outside a polling station during the counting of ballots after the first round of voting for Egypt's parliamentary elections in Giza, Cairo, on October 19, 2015. ©AFP

Egyptian security and medical officials say at least five army soldiers have been killed and eight others injured when Takfiri militants carried out a mortar attack against their camp in the North African country’s volatile Sinai Peninsula.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack took place early on Thursday, when terrorists fired a number of mortar shells at the camp in the border town of Rafah, located 340 kilometers (211 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo.

Security forces have launched an investigation into the attack, for which no individual or group has claimed responsibility yet. 

The attack came more than a week after Egyptian fighter jets targeted a training camp for members of the Velayat Sinai militant group south of Rafah, leaving 17 extremists dead.

Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, following a deadly terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 33 soldiers.

Over the past years, militants have been carrying out anti-government activities and deadly attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil that has gripped the country after democratically-elected former president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted by the military in July 2013.

Militants from the Takfiri Velayat Sinai group, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, mainly targeting the army and police. In November 2014, the group pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is mainly wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

The government in Cairo views the volatile region as a safe haven for terrorists.

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