Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi offered his condolences on Friday to the families of 12 army personnel who were killed early this morning when an armed group assaulted a North Sinai security checkpoint, referring to them as "heroes."
In a statement on his official Facebook page, El-Sisi vowed that such a tragic incident would only "increase our determination and persistence to continue our battle for development and survival."
Egypt's cabinet, Parliament and the top Sunni Muslim authority Al-Azhar strongly condemned the attack, in statements reported by official state news agency MENA.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail added that "the state is determined to cleanse Egypt from these evil elements."
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that these attacks, which aim to target the state and terrorize the society, will not succeed.
Twelve army personnel were killed and six injured while 15 militants were killed and a number injured early on Friday when assailants attacked an army checkpoint in 4x4 vehicles and a shootout ensued, Egypt’s army spokesman said.
Hundreds of security forces in North Sinai have been killed in attacks by Islamic militants in the past three years since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Egyptian security forces also killed hundreds of suspected militants in North Sinai during the same period.