Egypt: Sinai militants clash with army, police

Egyptian officials say Islamist militants clashed with army and police in northern Sinai, wounding seven people and using children as human shields to avoid capture by the security forces.

Three soldiers and four civilians, including a small girl and an old woman, were wounded in Sunday's fighting in the towns of el-Arish, Sheik Zweid and Rafah, the officials said on condition of anonymity according to their rules. They said the clashes were triggered by the arrest of four suspects.

The officials said some militants took refuge in a school in Sheik Zweid using children as hostages. They then fled, leaving the children behind.

Government forces launched a major security sweep in the Sinai in response to a brazen attack on a border outpost on Aug. 5 that killed 16 soldiers.