CAIRO, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Al-Azhar, the world's top Islamic institution for Sunni Muslims, as well as the Orthodox and Catholic churches, strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attack in North Sinai province northeastern the country earlier Wednesday.
Taking place on Eid al-Fitr (fast-breaking feast) that follows the holy month of Ramadan, the armed attack that targeted a checkpoint in North Sinai's Arish city left eight security men dead, while the forces killed five of the terrorists.
"Those terrorists will not be able to take the Eid joy from the hearts of Egyptians," Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb said in a statement.
"All Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, are united in backing the armed forces and the police in the war against terrorism," he added.
On the other hand, Egypt's Orthodox Church mourned the deaths of the security men in the attack, expressing support for the country's security apparatuses in their anti-terror campaign.
"The church supports the armed forces and the police in fighting terrorism and confronting those who attempt to undermine the nation's stability," said the Orthodox Church in a statement.
Likewise, the country's Catholic Church condemned Arish attack that "seeks to spoil the celebrations of the blessed Eid al-Fitr," offering condolences to the families of "the martyrs of national duty."
The attack was also condemned by some Arab states including Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan.
Terrorism rose in Egypt following the popularly-backed military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year controversial rule and his currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
North Sinai province, the northern part of the peninsula, has been the center of a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians over the past few years, with a Sinai-based group affiliated with the regional Islamic State claiming responsibility for most of them.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian forces have killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country's anti-terror war declared by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi's ouster.
Also on Wednesday, the Egyptian police killed six criminals who stole a private car in a shootout in Sharqiya province north of the capital Cairo.
A policeman was killed while pursuing the criminals who were hiding in an abandoned poultry farm in Zagazig city of Sharqiya.
The police later found explosives and firearms in their possession.