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Two Egyptian soldiers, five militants killed in Sinai clashes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Egyptian soldiers carry the coffin of a soldier who was killed a day earlier in the restive Sinai Peninsula in an attack by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group during a funeral ceremony in the 10th of Ramadan city, about 60 kilometers north of Cairo, July 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Egypt’s military says two soldiers and five militants were killed in clashes that erupted after armed men tried to attack a security checkpoint in Sinai province.

A military spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that two other militants were injured and some others fled the scene.

"One of the militants, wearing an explosive vest, attempted to raid one of the security checkpoints and due to the vigilance of the security forces the terrorist was killed while the rest of the militants were dealt with," the spokesman said.

The news comes two days after at least 18 policemen, including a general, were killed some 30 kilometers west of el-Arish in northern Sinai after militants ambushed their convoy.

The Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.

Over the past years, militants have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil caused in Egypt after the democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013.

The Velayat Sinai militant group, which is an affiliate of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults. The group later expanded the assaults to target members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as well as foreigners visiting the country. That has prompted the government to impose the state of emergency and widen a controversial crackdown, which critics say has mostly targeted dissidents.

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