Egypt's army said Tuesday it had launched a "major military operation" against the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 56 jihadists and losing two soldiers.
The army said it launched the operation Monday morning to "eliminate terrorist elements" around the North Sinai towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and El-Arish.
It said in an initial statement that 29 jihadists were killed in Monday's fighting. An army an officer and a soldier were also killed, and four wounded, when their vehicle was blown up by a bomb.
A subsequent statement said another 27 jihadists had been killed and 154 arrested Tuesday.
The army often reports large death tolls among the insurgents but they are impossible to verify and there has been little noticeable effect on IS's ability to carry out deadly attacks on the security forces.
IS's Egyptian affiliate said it killed the two soldiers with a roadside bomb that targeted their vehicle as it left a military base with a large convoy.