Five Egyptian soldiers killed in second deadly Sinai attack
CAIRO (Reuters) -Five Egyptian soldiers were killed by militants on Wednesday in northern Sinai, the second deadly strike against security forces on the peninsula in less than a week, and the military said it had carried out air strikes in response.
Four others were injured when armed men opened fire early on Wednesday morning at a security post on the coast of northeastern Sinai a few kilometres away from the border with the Gaza Strip, two security sources said.
The deaths follow a May 7 ambush at a checkpoint in Sinai that killed 11 Egyptian soldiers and was claimed by Islamic State, one of the deadliest attacks in recent years.
The military said in a statement that it had carried out air strikes on May 7 and again on Wednesday, killing a total of 16 militants and destroying several of their outposts and vehicles.
The five soldiers, including one officer, had been killed defending the security post from attack, it said, putting the number of wounded soldiers at two and adding that a further seven militants had been killed in the clashes.
Egypt has expanded security control over populated coastal areas of northern Sinai since a major counter-insurgency operation was launched in 2018, but sporadic attacks by militants linked to Islamic State have continued.
Southern Sinai, which is popular with foreign tourists and is separated from the north by mountains and desert, has been stable.
News of Wednesday’s attack came as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan in Cairo. The Egyptian presidency said the two had discussed the strategic partnership between Egypt and the United States, which is a major provider of military aid to Cairo.
On Monday, Sisi voiced hopes for deeper counter-terrorism ties with Washington in a meeting with the general who oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East, a U.S. military official said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan and Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Aidan Lewis;Editing by Catherine Evans, Mark Heinrich anad Alison Williams)