The coordinated assaults in the morning set off fierce fighting between the Army and the militants with soldiers and police chasing the attackers using ground and air force.

The militants withdrew from the town after almost eight hours of fighting, security officials said. The Egyptian Army in a statement said at least 100 militants were killed in the retaliatory operations.

The attacks came just two days after Egypt's general prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack here and a day after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to step up a two-year crackdown on militants.

Yesterday's attack, which occurred in Sheikh Zuweid city of North Sinai, included suicide car bombings and heavy weapons that damaged large parts of the checkpoints, security sources said.

"More than 70 terrorist elements waged simultaneous attacks against five security checkpoints in North Sinai," Army spokesperson Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Egyptian Army F-16 jets and Apache helicopters bombarded IS positions in the town of Sheikh Zuweid, where the militants had taken up positions on rooftops and mined streets leading to the police station.

There were conflicting reports of casualty figures in the attack, with official sources saying at least 70 people, including 60 soldiers, were killed while Samir put the number of those killed and injured so far much lower.

The militants also took soldiers captive and seized weapons and several armoured vehicles.

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