El-Arish - Gunmen killed two policemen and a soldier in
Egypt's northern Sinai on Monday, officials said, in the latest attack to hit
the volatile peninsula.
The assailants ambushed the policemen on their way to work
in the provincial capital of el-Arish, wounding a third officer and speeding
away by car, a security official said.
Gunmen also attacked army checkpoints in the city and nearby
town of Sheikh Zuweyid, wounding a total of five soldiers and a civilian, a
military official said. One of the wounded soldiers later died in a military
hospital, he added.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorized to brief reporters.
Meanwhile, Egypt's official news agency MENA said gunmen
opened fire on the el-Arish post office late Sunday, wounding a 14-year-old
girl. Two roadside bombs targeting army vehicles exploded on the main road to
el-Arish, it also reported, but there were no casualties.
Attacks on Egyptian forces have surged in northern Sinai
since the military ousted the country's former Islamist president, Mohammed
Morsi, in July. In response the military launched its largest offensive against
militants in years in the area.
The army says militants have killed more than 100 policemen
and soldiers since then. The deadliest attack took place 19 August when
unidentified gunmen pulled 25 police conscripts off minibuses and shot them
dead on the side of the main road linking the border town of Rafah to el-Arish.
While the military says it is only targeting militant
hideouts in northern Sinai, security officials have not commented about alleged
civilian deaths in the operations. Few journalists have direct access to what
is happening in the area because of security restrictions, forcing many to rely
on official statements.
Earlier this month, a statement purportedly released by the
Sinai-based Islamic militant group Ansar Jerusalem said a military attack had
killed seven civilians, among them four children, in Sheikh Zuweyid. The
group's statement, posted on militant websites, also included gruesome images
of the dead children, some with serious head injuries.
In a case that highlights the volatility of the situation,
an Egyptian journalist is being tried in a military court on charges of
spreading false information about the army's operations there. Freelancer Ahmed
Abu-Draa, a local resident, stands accused of lying about the army for saying
it attacked mosques and was relocating families.