Militants kill 5 at military checkpoints in Egypt's Sinai

AP News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2015 5:05 PM

CAIRO (AP) — Militants in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula attacked two military checkpoints, killing at least five soldiers Saturday in the latest violence there targeting security forces, officials and state media said.

Egyptian military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said in a statement that an attack on a single checkpoint killed 3 soldiers and wounded 4 others. It was not immediately clear why the numbers differed.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency reported that an attack near the town of Sheikh Zuweid sparked clashes with the militants.

Egyptian security officials, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters, said militants launched the attacks on two checkpoints using rocket-propelled grenades.

Both of the checkpoints were the sites of a major assault claimed by the Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State group on July 1. The military has said that multi-checkpoint assault killed at least 17 soldiers. Officials from several branches of Egypt's security forces previously told the AP that the attack killed dozens more.

Last year, the main insurgent organization operating in Sinai pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group, which holds a third of Iraq and Syria.

An Egyptian navy vessel was targeted Thursday by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, who claimed they destroyed it with a rocket while it was anchored off the Sinai's Mediterranean coast. Samir said at the time that the vessel caught fire in an exchange of fire with "terrorists" on the shore and that there were no fatalities among its crew members.