EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian security officials and residents say Egyptian military attack helicopters have fired missiles on suspected Islamic militants in Sinai after an attack on security checkpoints.

Security officials say it is the first time that the army has fired missiles in Sinai since the 1973 war with Israel to recapture the Sinai Peninsula.

Security officials tell The Associated Press that they launched the missile attack just hours after three security checkpoints were attacked by suspected Islamic militants in North Sinai's main city of El-Arish, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Gaza-Israel border.

Officials say six people were wounded in the attacks -- among them a military officer, two soldiers, two policemen and a civilian whose condition is critical.

Bedouin resident Abdel Rahman Abol Malkhous says he saw attack helicopters overhead firing missiles about 30 kilometers (18 1/2 miles) east of El-Arish in the area known as Sheikh Zuwayed near the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

Security officials say the military also carried out separate attacks just outside Sheikh Zuwayed.

Security officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Egyptian security forces stand by their

    Egyptian security forces stand by their Armoured Personell Carriers ahead of a military operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012. Egypt, which launched air raids against Islamist militants in Sinai for the first time in decades, faces a tough enemy that has used the peninsula's rugged terrain to evade capture in the past. The military said it deployed Apache helicopter gunships in the strikes that killed 20 'terrorists' in the Sinai village of Tumah, in retaliation for a weekend ambush that cost the lives of 16 soldiers. (STRINGER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Egyptian security forces stand by their

    Egyptian security forces stand by their Armoured Personell Carriers ahead of a military operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012. (STRINGER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Members of the Egyptian security forces

    Members of the Egyptian security forces take position during an operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012. (STRINGER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Members of the Egyptian security forces

    Members of the Egyptian security forces take position on a sand dune during an operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012. (STRINGER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Members of the Egyptian security forces

    Members of the Egyptian security forces take position on a sand dune during an operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012. (STRINGER/AFP/GettyImages)