El-ARISH, Egypt — Militants in Egypt’s northern Sinai fired mortar rounds late Sunday at a military post in El Arish, the provincial capital, killing a soldier and seven civilians, including two children, in a nearby residential complex, security and hospital officials said.
A senior security official said the attack hit the military post, killing the soldier. The military post is near a compound of residential buildings in the Salam district. The main security headquarters and the local government offices are in the same area.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said a supermarket, a pharmacy and a residential building were hit by the mortar fire.
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Samy Anwar, the head of the local hospital, said seven civilians were killed in the attack, including a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. He said 24 others were wounded.
The attack comes as Israel’s offensive against the neighboring Gaza Strip enters its sixth day. More than 160 Palestinians have been killed. Palestinian militant groups have fired rockets at Israel but caused no deaths. Despite international calls for a cease-fire, the violence showed no sign of easing.
Militants in Sinai have also fired rockets at Israel in support of Palestinian groups in the past days. Officials here said they foiled a new attempt to fire rockets at Israel on Sunday.
Militants have found a haven in northern Sinai, particularly after the turmoil in Egypt since 2011. They have mainly targeted military and police forces in the peninsula, in a wave of attacks that increased after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
The military has waged an offensive against the militants in Sinai, reducing the attacks against troops. But the militant groups have increasingly pushed their attacks toward Cairo and other provinces in Egypt.