Egypt: 12 soldiers killed in IS attack on army checkpost in Sinai
Islamist insurgency has increased in Egypt after the military ousted President Mursi in 2013. Photograph: (Getty)
The Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State attacked an army checkpost in Sinai province killing 12 soldiers and injuring six, the army said. The wounded were taken to hospital in north Sinai's capital al-Arish.
The military also said it killed 15 militants in retaliation, Reuters reported.
The IS, which claimed the attack, said it killed more than 20 soldiers and suffered no casualties.
Mortar rounds and rockets were fired at the army post, a police official and a medic told AFP.
"An armed group of terrorist elements attacked a security checkpoint in North Sinai this morning using four-wheel drives and were immediately engaged. Our forces killed 15 terrorists," the military said in a statement. "The clashes led to the martyrdom of 12 and injury of six armed forces heroes."
"A number of the caliphate's soldiers have launched an attack on a checkpoint belonging to the apostate Egyptian army south of Bir al-Abd that killed over 20 apostates and injured more," IS in its statement released on the Smartphone app Telegram. The jihadists also claimed they had seized arms and ammunition from the military checkpost.
The incident, which took place 40 km from the town of Bir al-Abd, is the first major attack by the Egyptian affiliate of the IS in the central Sinai region.
Islamist insurgency in Egypt increased has increased since 2013 after the military ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement following mass protests against his rule.
The militant group which carried out the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and adopted the name Sinai Province. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen, and has started to target Western targets within Egypt.
The Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has a strong presence in neighbouring Libya.
(WION with inputs from agencies)