Eight Egyptian soldiers and 14 militants were killed in fighting in central Sinai on Saturday when gunmen tried to target a military checkpoint, the army said.
A group of 14 militants armed with explosive vests, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked a military camp in central Sinai at dawn on Saturday, military spokesman Col. Tamer Rifai said in a statement. He said military forces engaged the attackers, killing the 14 militants.
According to the Rifai, eight soldiers were killed and 15 others injured when some of the attackers detonated their explosive vests.
North Sinai has become a terrorist center since isolating former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi who is from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist group by Egypt. Extremist groups are spread North Sinai, including Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis that pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a presidential decree extending the state of emergency across the country for a period of three months starting from Saturday April 14.
Sisi assigned, end of November, the army and police to use power to uproot terrorism, and a wide operation was launched on Feb. 9 in Sinai against “terrorist members”.
The latest extension was to allow security forces to “take measures necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country,” the official Gazette said.
This is the fourth time the state of emergency has been renewed since it was imposed for the first time on April 10, 2017 after terrorist attacks on two churches in Tanta and Alexandria.
The attacks left at least 45 people dead.