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Armed assailants attack, kill 11 Egypt troops in Sinai Peninsula: Army

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)
File photo of Egyptian troops

Unknown armed assailants have killed at least 10 Egyptian soldiers and one officer during an attack on a checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

During the Saturday incident, which has been described as a terrorist attack by Egypt, armed militants drove into a checkpoint with an explosive-laden vehicle while firing heavy weapons installed on flatbed trucks, Reuters reported, citing security sources.

Five more soldiers were also wounded in the firefight on the eastern Sinai bank of the Suez Canal, the army said.

"The terrorist elements are being pursued and besieged in an isolated area in Sinai," Egyptian army spokesman Gharib Abdel Hafez said in a statement.

Sinai began witnessing a surge in armed attacks after the 2013 ouster of Egypt's former democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi.

The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for most of those attacks.

In February 2018, the Egyptian army launched a full-scale counterterrorism operation after a terrorist attack on a mosque in North Sinai claimed the lives of more than 300 people.

Since then, over 840 suspected militants have been killed in the region, according to army figures. More than 60 government forces have also died.

The terrorists have been routinely attacking pipelines that carry Egyptian oil and gas to the neighboring occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan.

In August, the army said 13 militants were killed and nine of its soldiers "killed or wounded" during clashes in Sinai.

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