Egyptian soldiers keep guard on the borders in Sinai, July 8, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Military operations are ongoing in Rafah, North Sinai in response to deadly militant ambushes on Thursday morning, army spokesperson Mohamed Samir has told Ahram Online.
Samir said five Egyptian soldiers were killed in simultaneous attacks by gunmen using automatic weapons on two checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid and near Al-Arish.
Fifteen gunmen were also killed in a firefight with security forces during the assaults, Samir added.
According to reports, two civilians also died, and 19 security personnel and ten civilians were wounded.
The injured were ferried to a military hospital in Al-Arish.
Apache helicopters roared above the northern area in search of perpetrators of the attacks which carry the hallmark of Islamist militants allied with the ultra-hardline Islamic State group.
Egypt's army is fighting an Islamist insurrection based in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula, which has heightened since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The violence has mainly targeted security forces, killing hundreds in the past 19 months.
Late in January, simultaneous attacks by jihadist fighters targeted security forces with rockets and car bombs in Al-Arish, killing at least 30, including civilians.
The violence was the deadliest since Islamist militants killed 31 soldiers and wounded tens of others in October 2014 in northern Sinai, which adjoins Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Both assaults were claimed by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active militant group which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group late last year.