Egypt says 11 soldiers killed in militant attack in Sinai

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CAIRO — The Egyptian military says at least 11 soldiers, including an officer, were killed in a militant attack in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

The military said in a statement that militants attacked a water pumping station east of the Suez Canal on Saturday. He did not give further details on the location.

The statement said security forces are confronting the attacking militants. It says at least five other soldiers were injured in the attack. Troops were pursuing the militants in a remote area of ​​Sinai, he added.

No group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s ambush, one of the deadliest attacks on Egyptian security forces in recent years.

Last week, suspected militants blew up a gas pipeline in the northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd, causing a fire but no casualties.

Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that escalated after the army overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. Militants have carried out numerous attacks, mainly targeting security forces and Christians.

The pace of militant attacks in the main Sinai theater of operations and elsewhere has slowed since February 2018, when the military launched a massive operation in the Sinai as well as parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along of the country’s western border with Libya.

The fight against militants in the Sinai has largely taken place out of public view, with journalists, non-residents and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict was also kept away from tourist resorts at the southern end of the peninsula.

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