Clashes near to the Egypt-Gaza border in North Sinai between security forces and “terrorist elements” took place Tuesday evening, according to a representative from the office of the military spokesman.
The clashes resulted in the deaths of a number of the “terrorist elements”, the spokesman added.
There were reportedly civilians injured, however the military representative was unable to confirm the numbers of deaths and injuries cause by the clashes.
AFP and Aswat Masriya noted that three women, three children and four men were found dead as a result of the clashes.
Egypt announced its decision on Monday to expand a buffer zone between Rafah and the Gaza Strip from 500 metres to 1 km.
Residents living within the 500 metre zone are gradually being evacuated from their homes to establish what the armed forces described as a ‘secure zone’.
The decision came among other security measures being implemented in Sinai to counter the ongoing militant insurgency. The establishment of the ‘secure zone’ aims to eradicate the use of smuggling tunnels leading into and out of Sinai. The government has reported that over 80 houses out of 802 on the border were found to contain tunnel openings.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi promised the relocated residents compensation for their homes.
Among other security measures taken were the implementation of a three month state of emergency and the military protection of vital facilities. The border with Gaza was also closed, however state media reports have indicated the crossing may soon be opened.
The increased security measures were announced in the wake of a deadly attack on 24 October targeting security personnel leaving at least 30 of them dead. The attack was claimed last week by Sinai-based militants Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which rebranded itself State of Sinai following a pledge to militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has reiterated the call for more attacks on the Egyptian armed forces, and congratulated ABM on their successful operations in Sinai.