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Sep 13, 1:32 PM EDT

Egypt: 2 soldiers, 5 militants killed in Sinai shootout

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EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) -- Egypt's military said Wednesday that troops killed five militants who attacked a checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State assault on a convoy two days earlier killed 18 police.

Military spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that two conscripts were killed in the shootout, which erupted after a militant with an explosives belt tried to storm a military checkpoint. He said two other militants were wounded, without providing further details.

Egyptian security officials said the attack took place just outside the town of Rafah, on the Gaza border, and that the two conscripts died when the suicide bomber blew himself up. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

A local affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed the attack.

Egypt's Interior Ministry meanwhile said security forces killed the "main suspect" behind a July attack on a security vehicle patrolling a village near Egypt's famed pyramids. That attack killed five police.

The ministry said the suspected militant was killed in a shootout after security forces found his hideout in Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast. In July, the ministry said it had killed four others involved in the attack.

Insurgents have carried out scores of suicide bombings and other attacks in Egypt since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whose one-year rule proved divisive.

Most of the attacks have been directed against security forces in the northern Sinai, where a long-running insurgency is now led by an Islamic State affiliate.

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