Three Egyptian soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a checkpoint by Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, the military said in a statement.

The official MENA news agency had earlier reported five soldiers killed, quoting security officials.

READ ALSO  Nigeria's trade with China grows by N2.03trn

The discrepancy could not immediately be explained as journalists have limited access to the restive peninsula where jihadists are waging a deadly insurgency.

The military said it killed 20 militants on Saturday in an assault on a jihadist hide-out, posting video of air strikes on a building and two trucks on its spokesman’s Facebook page.

READ ALSO  Zamfara spends N680m on 305 community projects

Militants loyal to the Islamic State group have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in attacks since the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which unleased a deadly crackdown on his Islamists supporters.

READ ALSO  You’re veteran ‘upcoming’ artist, Ruggedman replies blackface

On Thursday, the militants claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a navy vessel off North Sinai.

The army said no navy men were killed in the attack.