CAIRO: At least 10 people were killed and three others injured after a mortar round hit their house in Northern Sinai’s city of Rafah, security sources told Youm7 Wednesday.
This came after an overnight fire exchange between Islamist militants and security forces, said the source who added that the source of the mortar had not yet been unidentified.
Ambulances rushed to the scene to escort the injured to a hospital in nearby Rafah, according to eyewitnesses who said they heard a loud explosion at midnight in what appeared to be an attack on a nearby militants’ hideout.
The source added that security forces reinforced its presence in the vicinity of the incident.
The clashes came a few days after the Sinai-based Al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the Oct. 24 attack that killed 31 soldiers and injured dozens more in Rafah.
Since the army toppled the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule, Egyptian security forces have facing targeting by jihadis in the Sinai, and responded by increasing security patrols and campaigns in the areas.
Following the Oct. 24 attack, Egypt began demolishing houses and clearing residents along its border with Gaza to set up a buffer zone aimed at deterring militant and curbing arm smuggling, and announced this week it would expand the width of the zone from 500 meters to 1km.