More than two-dozen people died in mid-Sinai on Thursday during crossfire between security forces and armed militants, according to a statement by Egypt’s military spokesperson, including 10 security personnel and 15 militants.
It is not clear exactly where the shootout took place, but the military statement said that storage facilities for explosives and car SUVs containing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and electronics were also destroyed in the process.
Two explosives went off in security forces’ armored vehicles during a car chase, leading to the deaths of 10 personnel.
The Islamic State-affiliated militant group Province of Sinai claimed responsibility on Thursday for exploding two armored vehicles in an area close to Gabal al-Halal in mid-Sinai.
The area has seen an escalation in violent attacks since 2016 amid security crackdowns in Hassana, Nekhel and Gabal al-Halal, unlike North Sinai, which has been in turmoil since 2013.
The military announced six similar operations in March, which it said led to the deaths of several members of the Province of Sinai and destroyed vehicles and weapons stockpiles.
In February, the Armed Forces claimed they had succeeded in clearing Gabal al-Halal of militants, an area notorious for weapons exchanges since the 1990s.
Six civilians died during another bombing in Nekhel in mid-Sinai on Tuesday, according to locals.
A high-ranking security official was also killed on Thursday in North Sinai’s Arish during crossfire with armed militants on the outskirts of the city, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.