The Islamic State group in Egypt claimed on Tuesday that its fighters killed and wounded 20 Egyptian soldiers in four days of clashes in northern Sinai.
In a statement posted on a pro-IS website, the Egyptian affiliate of the Sunni militant group said the fighting took place south of the coastal city of el-Arish and that the militants also destroyed two tanks, a Humvee and two other military vehicles.
There was no immediate comment from the Egyptian government on the claim, and the restive area of the Sinai Peninsula is off limits to the media.
Security forces have been battling IS-led militants in Sinai for years, but the insurgency has grown deadlier and more widespread since the 2013 ouster by the military of Egypt’s former Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.
Following a spate of deadly attacks blamed on IS, Egypt recently stepped up security operations south of el-Arish and the desert beyond, saying many militants were killed and that weapons, ammunition and explosives were seized.