EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Insurgents ambushed an army convoy in northern Sinai early Tuesday killing a soldier and a civilian, the local government and the military said, the latest in a rising wave of attacks in Egypt's volatile peninsula.
Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said the attackers targeted two buses transporting soldiers, detonating three explosive devices and spraying the vehicles with gunfire as they drove down a main road linking the border town of Rafah with el-Arish, the capital of northern Sinai.
In a statement published on his official Facebook page, Ali said forces securing the buses returned fire, forcing the attackers to flee.
He added that one soldier and a civilian driver died in the attack and five soldiers were wounded. The wounded soldiers, some described as being in critical condition, were taken to the military hospital in el-Arish.
A statement soon after the attack from the northern Sinai security department gave different details of the ambush. It said attackers fired three rocket-propelled grenades at an armored military vehicle and a troop carrier, and that seven soldiers were wounded. The military's reports of incidents involving its forces are generally considered more definitive.
Attacks in Sinai have increased since the military toppled President Mohammed Morsi on July 3 following demonstrations by millions calling for him to leave office. Several al-Qaida-inspired militant groups have stepped up attacks on security and military targets in the peninsula. The Egyptian military has responded with intensified operations to eliminate the militants and their sanctuaries in the lawless desert area.