Militant attack against Egypt army 'kills 30 soldiers'
Militants wearing explosive belts blew themselves up as they tried to infiltrate a military base in Egypt's central Sinai, killing 30 soldiers, a medical source has said.
A military medical source told The New Arab that the dawn attack on Saturday left at least 30 soldiers dead and 40 wounded.
"Bodies have been arriving at the Suez military hospital throughout the day. Among the dead are high ranking officers," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
The source said military officials have been sending bodies to other hospitals in an attempt to conceal the high death toll in the deadliest attack since the launch of a massive operation against militants two months ago.
Egypt's army said jihadists wearing explosive belts tried to storm the military camp in the Sinai Peninsula, leaving eight soldiers and 14 attackers dead.
The militants blew themselves up outside the camp after they were prevented by security forces from entering, an army statement said.
"The armed forces were able today to foil a large terrorist operation," the military said.
The figures provided by the military cannot be independently verified as media access to the northern Sinai is heavily restricted.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which bore the hallmarks of the extremist Islamic State group.
IS militants have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in the Sinai since the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, following mass protests against him.
Egypt has also built a buffer zone along the border with Gaza to curb the flow of militants and weapons through a vast tunnel network.
The insurgency, however, has shown no signs of abating.
In an earlier statement, the army said security forces killed 27 militants including six in airstrikes part of its offensive in turbulent Sinai region.
It also said that troops arrested 114 suspected militants, including 21 wanted criminals.
More than 100 jihadists and at least 22 soldiers have been killed in an ongoing operation launched on February 9 against the jihadists, according to army figures.