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2 Egyptian soldiers killed, 16 injured in explosion

Sept. 26, 2015 4:09 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 26, 2015 4:09 P.M.)
A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard next to a damaged bus following a roadside bomb blast in Sinai's provincial capital of El-Arish on July 9, 2015. (AFP/File)
Cairo (AFP) -- Two Egyptian policemen were killed in a roadside bombing in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, the interior ministry said, in an attack claimed by a group affiliated with the Islamic State group.

The ministry said 16 policemen were also wounded when the bomb hit their convoy in the north of the peninsula, where security forces are struggling to quell an Islamist insurgency.

The Islamic State's Egypt affiliate, Sinai Province, said on Twitter that its militants had detonated the bomb as police tried to set up a checkpoint.

Egyptian sources confirmed to Ma'an that the explosion was caused by a remotely-controlled explosive device.

Sinai Province, which pledged allegiance to IS last year, has claimed many attacks in an ongoing military insurgency that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the army took power from Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Morsi's overthrow unleashed a sweeping crackdown on Islamists that left hundreds of protesters dead and thousands in prison.

Earlier this month Egypt's army said its forces killed 98 militants in the Northern Sinai cities of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and El-Arish.

The army told Ma'an at the time it was targeting militants affiliated with the Sinai Province. Despite high insurgent fatalities reported by the government, there has been little noticeable effect on anti-regime militant groups' ability to carry out deadly attacks on the security forces.

Sinai Province claimed several roadside bombings during the first half of September which the military has not commented on, one of which wounded six peace keepers.

Last week Egypt pledged a quick and "transparent" probe into the accidental killing of eight Mexican tourists by security forces earlier this month in what Egypt's Interior Ministry described as a botched operation against militants in the Western Desert.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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