Map of el-Arish, Sinai Peninsula
Map of el-Arish, Sinai Peninsula

CAIRO - Gunmen killed five policemen in the restive northern Sinai on Saturday, the Egyptian interior ministry said on Facebook.

The assailants pulled the policemen out a vehicle in El Obour neighborhood, south of El Arish city, and shot all five of them dead, security sources said.

In another incident on Saturday morning, nine policemen were injured when an explosive device planted on the road was remotely detonated as the armoured vehicle carrying the conscripts passed in the city of Rafah, security sources said. One conscript later died of his wounds.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Saturday's attacks come two days after an assassination attempt on a senior Egyptian prosecutor. A recently emerged militant group called the Hasm Movement later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for death sentences handed out to thousands of convicts.

The most populous Arab country is battling an insurgency that gained pace after its military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.

The insurgency, mounted by Islamic State's Egyptian branch Sinai Province, has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and started to attack Western targets within the country.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief who led Mursi's ouster, describes Islamist militancy as an existential threat to Egypt, an ally of the United States.

Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has a presence in Libya which borders Egypt.

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