Gunmen in a fishing boat opened fire on an Egyptian naval launch which shot back, killing at least four of the attackers on Wednesday, security sources and state media said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in the Mediterranean north of the port of Damietta, near the Suez Canal. The military has faced attacks from Islamist militants based in the Sinai Peninsula further east, and smugglers also operate in the area.
The military said in a statement it had destroyed four of the militants' boats and captured 32 individuals in what it termed a "terrorist incident." The statement said five navy forces were wounded and eight others were still unaccounted for.