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Aug 26, 8:51 AM EDT

Egypt gunmen kill 2 police in restive Sinai

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CAIRO (AP) -- Three gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed two policemen in the restive northeastern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, Egyptian officials said, in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group.

The security officials said the gunmen opened fire on the two, who had been guarding a post office, with automatic weapons before speeding away. Later, a claim of responsibility by the Sinai Province of the Islamic State group circulated on social media accounts of supporters, with photos purporting to show the shooting.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. Reporting in the area is highly restricted, with both mobile phone signal and land lines cut in certain hotspots further to the east.

The attack was the latest in a yearslong battle for the lawless north Sinai between government forces and militants. The area's most powerful militant group pledged allegiance to IS last year and changed its name to the Sinai Province of the Islamic State.

The conflict in the neglected region intensified following the army's 2013 overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president, the divisive Islamist Mohammed Morsi. Attacks, mostly causing few casualties, also take place regularly in mainland Egypt.

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