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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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