Militants launched a number of deadly attacks on checkpoints in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula early Wednesday. A group linked to the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Merrit Kennedy filed this report from Cairo for Newscast:
"In Egypt, militants launched a coordinated series of assaults in the restive north Sinai peninsula. The military says 17 soldiers were killed, though local security officials earlier in the day said more than 50 soldiers were killed.
"More than 70 militants hit at least five checkpoints in the early hours of the morning, setting off hours of deadly fighting between the soldiers and the militants. The military targeted groups of attackers with warplanes, according to military statements.
"The coordinated attacks on the checkpoints were later claimed by the Sinai affiliate of the self-described Islamic State.
"In a televised statement, Egypt's armed forces vowed to root out terrorism from the Sinai, where a burgeoning insurgency has survived and even grown in the face of a major military campaign."
The Washington Post says North Sinai "has been the site of heated battles between Egyptian government forces and militant Islamists for years."
It adds that "attacks have been increasing in frequency since the military backed the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. According to some military experts, the attacks also have been increasing in sophistication."