December 28, 2017 / 3:11 PM / a year ago

Militants kill two in bank attack in Egypt's Sinai, security sources say

CAIRO (Reuters) - Militants killed two people, including a policeman, at a bank in the town of El-Arish in Egypt’s North Sinai on Thursday, security sources said, and a separate explosion in the region killed an army officer and five soldiers.

The militants in El-Arish fired a rocket and shot at police who were guarding the bank, the sources said. The police fired back but the militants fled the scene.

Egypt’s interior ministry could not immediately be reached for comment on the incident.

Later, the army said an officer and five soldiers had been killed when their vehicle was hit by the blast from a bomb militants planted in North Sinai. The troops were carrying out a raid on a militant position when they were attacked.

No exact location was given for the explosion. A separate raid killed three Islamist militants, it said.

Security forces have been battling an Islamist insurgency for several years in North Sinai, led by Islamic State’s Sinai branch. Several hundred soldiers and policeman have been killed.

Attacks have now expanded to civilian targets including Christians.

An attack on a mosque in the village of Al Rawdah last month killed more than 300 people, Egypt’s deadliest such attack. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the armed forces to end the insurgency within three months after the mosque attack.

Islamic State is widely believed to have carried out that attack but has claimed it.

Reporting Mohamed Abdellah and John Davison; Editing by Larry King

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