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Jul 26, 9:30 AM EDT

Officials say roadside bombing in Sinai Peninsula wounds 18 Egyptian police conscripts

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CAIRO (AP) -- A roadside bombing in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula wounded 18 police conscripts Sunday, security officials said.

The officials said the blast targeted a bus carrying the conscripts in el-Arish as they traveled along a seafront road in the early morning.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figure and said none of those hurt had life-threatening wounds.

The Egyptian Islamic State affiliate, which calls itself the militant group's Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attack. The claim, in a statement posted on Twitter accounts of the group's supporters, could not be independently verified.

Security officials also said attacks on three separate checkpoints later in the day injured three military conscripts.

In one of the checkpoint attacks, militants damaged two vehicles belonging to peacekeeping forces, the officials said. They added that no peacekeepers were injured in the attack south of Rafah.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to discuss the attacks with journalists.

Sinai-based militants have launched increasingly sophisticated attacks in recent months that have killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers and police. The latest wave of violence began after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi two years ago.

Government forces have been carrying out an intensified hunt for Islamic militants in several northern Sinai towns. But in el-Arish, a more-densely populated area, government forces are more vulnerable to roadside bombs - which have become a recurrent weapon used against troops.

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