At least 23 Egyptian soldiers were killed and 33 others injured today when terrorists attacked several army checkpoints with car bombs in the restive North Sinai, triggering fierce clashes that left 40 militants dead. The military said it killed the heavily-armed terrorists during clashes with them in the North Sinai city of Rafah, bordering the Palestinian Gaza Strip ruled by the Hamas.
Security officials said ambulances rushed to the sites of the attacks south of the town of Rafah. Six vehicles were destroyed during the attacks, army spokesperson Tamer el-Refae said in a statement.
The security sources said 23 army personnel were killed in the attack while the number of wounded stands at 33. The army is currently combing the area and searching for the attackers.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the restive North Sinai is the main focus of the deadly ISIS militancy and the groups affiliated with it have carried out several attacks in the past targeting security forces since the January 2011 revolution that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.
The attacks, mainly targeting police and military, increased after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule. Hundreds of police and army personnel have been killed since then. The military has launched security campaigns in the North Sinai area, killing several militants.
The security forces have also arrested suspects and demolished houses that belong to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.