Egyptian army says 8 sailors missing after attack near Mediterranean port

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An Egyptian army spokesman says eight sailors are missing after an assault by "terrorist elements" on a navy patrol boat off one of the country's Mediterranean ports.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said in a statement on his official Facebook page early on Thursday that four assault boats were destroyed and that 32 attackers were arrested.

Five troops were also wounded in the attack.

Earlier, the official MENA news agency said gunmen from three boats fired at the naval patrol Wednesday north of the port of Damietta, prompting an exchange of fire.

No further details were available.

Human smuggling is common in the Mediterranean. Egyptian troops have increasingly come under attack from militants since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year, though attacks at sea are extremely rare.