Sinai Militants Kill 11 Soldiers in Deadliest Attack in Years, Egypt's Military Says

The ambush comes just one week after an attack in Sinai's north blew up a natural gas pipeline as part of an Islamic State-led insurgency plaguing the peninsula

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FILE: Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, 2015
FILE: Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, 2015Credit: REUTERS

Egypt’s military says at least 11 troops, including an officer, have been killed in an ambush by militants in the Sinai Peninsula, one of the deadliest attacks against Egyptian security forces in recent years.

The attackers targeted a water pumping station on Saturday to the east of the Suez Canal, the military said in a statement, killing 11 and wounding five other troops in clashes, the military said.

No group claimed responsibility for Saturday's ambush, just one week after suspected militants blew up a natural gas pipeline in the Northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd, igniting 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 Egyptian 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, one of the region's principal industries.

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