x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Militants kill two in Sinai attack

Two people were killed and six wounded when Islamist militants attacked an Egyptian security forces checkpoint on Tuesday using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns in the North Sinai province.

CAIRO // Two people were killed and six wounded when Islamist militants attacked an Egyptian security forces checkpoint on Tuesday using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns in the North Sinai province, security sources said.

It was not clear whether the casualties were civilians or security personnel in the attack in the central province village of Sadr El Heytan.

The attack came shortly after another assault in the town of Rafah, when security forces and militants exchanged gunfire. Another police checkpoint was also attacked nearby, the sources said.

Hardline Islamist groups based in North Sinai exploited the collapse of state authority after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak to launch attacks across the border into Israel and on Egyptian security targets. The violence has risen since last week's overthrow of the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi by the military.

Last Sunday, one Egyptian soldier was killed and a police officer was wounded in an attack on a security checkpoint in Sinai, and five security officers were killed in skirmishes with suspected militants on Friday.

The Salafi Jihadi group, one of the biggest Sinai-based Islamist militant groups, had said that "current events ravaging the country" were affecting Sinai and threatened to launch attacks on police and military forces in Sinai.