Militants killed 18 people in an attack Monday on a security convoy in Egypt’s North Sinai, where police and troops are battling a terrorist insurgency, security and medical sources said.
The interior ministry confirmed an attack around the town of Bir al-Abed had caused deaths and injuries but did not provide a toll.
A local ISIL group affiliate based in North Sinai has killed hundreds of soldiers and police in attacks since the military in 2013 ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.
Monday’s incident took place when a vehicle tried to break through a security convoy passing between Qantara near the Egyptian port city of Ismailiya, and El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai.
“As the forces dealt with the car, it blew up,” the ministry said.
The explosion was followed by a shootout with “militant elements who were hiding in the desert area alongside the road,” the ministry said.
“This led to the martyrdom of some of the convoy’s individuals and the injury of others,” it said.
It was not immediately clear whether any civilians were among the dead.
While based in North Sinai, the ISIL affiliate in Egypt has carried out attacks elsewhere including in the capital Cairo, and has claimed attacks that have killed more than 100 Coptic Christians since December.