Four Egyptian police officers killed in Sinai
Security officials are frequently targeted in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula. (AFP/File)
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Armed assailants have reportedly shot and killed four Egyptian police officers in the northern Sinai Peninsula amid escalating militant attacks targeting security personnel in the volatile region.
An Egyptian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that the officers had been killed “on the road between the towns of Rafah and El-Arish in north Sinai” after the attackers stopped their vehicle, forced them out and opened fire on them.
According to the source, the gunmen fled into the desert after killing the policemen. The officers had been returning to their posts after the weekend, added the official.
Egyptian police have blamed the shooting assault on “Takfiri militants.”
The Sinai has long been considered a safe haven for militants who use the region as a base for terror activities.
In recent months, the remote desert region has been the scene of growing violence and militant attacks on security forces.
Since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, on July 3, 2013, militant groups have launched almost daily attacks in Sinai, killing members of the security forces.
In response, Cairo has launched offensives against the militants, sending thousands of troops backed by tanks and heavy equipment into the region.
The Saturday shooting in Sinai came only hours after two bomb attacks in a suburb of the capital Cairo left an 18-year-old girl and her mother dead.
According to Egyptian police, the bombings occurred when the makeshift devices in a telecommunications building under construction in the October 6 suburb were detonated by a mobile phone signal.