One soldier and seven civilians including a child were killed when militants fired mortar rounds at a military post in the city of El Arish in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai peninsula Sunday, security and medical sources said.
According to a statement issued by the Interior Ministry, the attack also hit the nearby market area in the city.
Northern Sinai has been the scene of a number of deadly attacks by militant Islamists on police and security forces since the army-led ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last summer.
The army has increased efforts to rid the peninsula of such armed groups, but a security vacuum since the Arab Spring ouster of strongman Hosni Mubarak has made the peninsula a haven for the outlawed Islamists.
According to figures issued by the Interior Ministry, more than 500 security personnel have died in attacks in Sinai and other parts of Egypt in the last 12 months.
The assault came amid Israel's campaign of airstrikes in the adjacent Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from Hamas and other militant groups. At least 167 people have died in Gaza.
Militants in Sinai also have fired rockets toward Israel the last few days, but no casualties have been reported from them. Egyptian security forces announced Sunday that they prevented the firing of two more rockets by militants in the direction of the Israeli resort of Eilat.
Egypt's newly elected president, Abdel Fattah Sisi, has vowed to restore stability in the Sinai Peninsula.
Hassan is a special correspondent.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times