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Militants attack Egyptian security forces in Sinai

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamist militants attacked Egyptian security forces with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns on Tuesday in the lawless North Sinai province near Egypt's borders with Israel, security sources said.

Security forces and militants exchanged gunfire in the town of Rafah, but the sources said there were no deaths or serious casualties in the clashes. Another police checkpoint was also attacked nearby, the sources added.

Hardline Islamist groups based in North Sinai have exploited the collapse of state authority after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak to launch attacks across the border into Israel and on Egyptian security targets.

The violence has risen since last week's overthrow of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi by the army.

Last Sunday, one Egyptian soldier was killed and a police officer was wounded in an attack on a security checkpoint in Sinai, and five security officers were killed in skirmishes with suspected militants on Friday.

The Salafi Jihadi group, one of the biggest Sinai-based Islamist militant groups, had said in a statement that "current events ravaging the country" were affecting Sinai and threatened to launch attacks on police and military forces in Sinai.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia and Ali Abdelaty in Cairo, writing by Yasmine Saleh; editing by Mike Collett-white)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130709/militants-attack-egyptian-security-forces-sinai