Eight Egyptian police were killed early on Wednesday June 5th in a terrorist attack at a checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula, the same day the nation started to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, AFP reported citing the interior ministry.
"Terrorist elements targeted a checkpoint west of El-Arish early this morning... The exchange of fire killed five terrorist elements and eight police were martyred," a ministry statement said.
Some militants are still on the run while security forces are tracking "their movements", the ministry added.
A medical source said three members of the Central Security Force, a paramilitary unit under the control of the interior ministry, were also wounded in the attack and taken to El-Arish public hospital.
Egyptian state television said there were fears the death toll could rise as there were reports of attacks on multiple checkpoints. No group has claimed responsibility yet.
The attack took place as Muslims in the city of El-Arish were holding early morning prayers marking the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the holy month of Ramadan.
In March, the Egyptian armed forces killed 46 militants and destroyed 15 hideouts in northern and central Sinai as part of their crackdown on Isis and related jihadist groups.