CAIRO — The spokesman for Egypt’s military said Tuesday that 20 ‘‘terrorists’’ carried out an attack on a border post that killed 22 soldiers, the deadliest assault on Egypt’s military in years.
A statement posted on the official Facebook page of military spokesman Brigadier General Mohammed Samir said attackers driving four pickup trucks loaded with explosives first exchanged gunfire with soldiers at a border post in el-Wadi el-Gadid, Egypt’s largest province bordering Libya and Sudan.
The statement said the gunfire prevented the attackers from storming the post. However, it said attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at a gas cylinder, blowing it up and causing a fire in an ammunition warehouse that exploded and killed the soldiers Saturday.
The statement did not say who the military suspects of carrying out the attack.
On Monday, suspected Islamic militants gunned down two tribal leaders in the restive northern region of the Sinai Peninsula over their alleged connection to authorities, security officials said.
The officials said Sheik Ashtewi Maraheel and Hassan al-Baiera, both from the well-known Sawarka Bedouin tribe of the northern Sinai, were killed in two separate incidents in the town of Rafah after sunset Monday. The officials said militants opened fire on each of them near their homes before fleeing.
The Egyptian military has been waging a wide offensive in areas bordering Gaza Strip and Israel after they turned to strongholds of Islamic extremists, including the Al Qaeda-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.