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Seven militants, 15 Egyptian soldiers killed or injured in north Sinai clashes

Egyptian army searching for militants after early morning attack
15 Egyptian soldiers were killed in early morning attack by militants in Sinai (AFP-File)

At least seven militants have been killed and 15 Egyptian soldiers killed or injured in clashes in the country's North Sinai province, the Egyptian military announced Saturday. 

The army spokesman, in a statement published on Facebook, said Egyptian forces came under attack from "terrorist elements" on Saturday morning. 

"Combing operations and the pursuit and elimination of the terrorist elements in the area where the incident took place is ongoing," the spokesman said.

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The area, which borders the Gaza Strip, has been the focus of Egypt's military operations against local militants who claim allegiance to IS. 

Last February Egypt launched Operation Sinai 2018, which included severe restrictions for local residents already caught between the fighting, which it announced would defeat the militant presence. 

In November 2017, gunmen killed more than 300 worshippers at al-Rawda mosque in northern Sinai, considered the deadliest such attack in Egypt's history.