At least 60 Egyptian soldiers have been killed and scores of others injured in a series of attacks by militants against military checkpoints in the country’s violence-plagued Sinai Peninsula.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said militants detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, located about 334 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo, on Wednesday, killing tens of troopers and injuring several more, Sky News Arabia satellite news network reported.
Assailants also fired several rounds of mortar shells at army check posts in al-Joureh, Abu Refaei and Sedrah districts on the southern outskirts of Sheikh Zuweid.
The projectiles triggered fierce exchanges of gunfire between Egyptian government forces and the militants.
Egytian news channels reported the number of Egyptian military killed is likely to rise due to the large scale of the attack.
Meanwhile, at least ten militants have been killed and scores of others injured as Egyptian Apache combat helicopters struck militant hideouts in Sinai Peninsula.
The development comes only days after at least 11 militants were killed and four others arrested when government troops raided terrorist hideouts in Sheikh Zuweid as well as the border town of Rafah, located 340 kilometers (211 miles) east of Cairo.
The Egyptian military views the Sinai Peninsula as a sanctuary for extremists.
Gunmen have intensified terrorist attacks in Sinai ever since Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was toppled in a military coup in July 2013.
Militants from the Velayat Sinai terror group, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in Sinai Peninsula. Last November, the group pledged allegiance to Daesh, which is now wreaking havoc mainly in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material.