Gunmen shoot dead security commanders in Egypt's Sinai

AFPJuly 25, 2014
An Israeli police car blocks the road on the Israeli side of the Taba crossing leading into Egypt on February 16, 2014
An Israeli police car blocks the road on the Israeli side of the Taba crossing leading into Egypt on February 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Cairo (AFP) - Gunmen shot dead two senior police and army officers on Friday in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula where the military is battling an Islamist insurgency, security officials said.

Militants have stepped up their attacks, mostly against security forces, since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July and the government launched a deadly crackdown on his supporters.

The assailants opened fire on the police and army brigadiers as they were driving home in the Sheikh Zuwaid region.

Attacks by militants have killed almost 500 police and soldiers since Morsi's overthrow, the government says.

Last week, 22 soldiers were killed by gunmen at a checkpoint in Egypt's western desert, in the deadliest single assault since Morsi's ouster.

Militant groups say their attacks are in retaliation for the government's crackdown on Morsi supporters that has left more than 1,400 people dead.

The lawless and largely desert Sinai Peninsula is the base of multiple jihadist groups and has seen the largest number of attacks on the police and army.

But the militants have since extended their operations into the Nile Delta and the heart of the capital.