Militants Attack Army Post in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula

Attack comes just one day after Egyptian military tanks were withdrawn from the area.

Gunmen attacked an army post in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Tuesday, a day after tanks were withdrawn from the area, a senior security official said.

Militants fired rocket-propelled grenades on the army personnel, who responded in a 15-minute fire exchange in North Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid town.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Egyptian military has been carrying out a campaign - codenamed “Operation Eagle” - in response to an attack by suspected Islamist gunmen that killed 16 security personnel at an army checkpoint in August.

The Sheikh Zuwaid town lies within a zone where Egypt's military presence is strictly limited by the country's 1979 treaty with Israel, which had reportedly expressed concern over the heightened military presence near its border.

While the government insists that the military campaign against militants continues, observers suggest the focus is increasingly on mediation efforts led by a delegation of Salafist sheikhs sent to the region by President Mohammed Morsi.

Over the past year, Islamist militants are believed to have been responsible for several attacks on a Sinai pipeline that exports gas to Israel, as well as raids on police stations in the mountainous desert peninsula.