Unidentified assailants have opened fire on a security checkpoint in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least five police officers, authorities say.
The attack took place overnight in the North Sinai capital of el-Arish, where security forces fight an affiliate of the Takfiri Daesh group known as Velayat Sinai, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
A gun battle ensued after the attack in which the five policemen were killed and three conscripts were wounded, it said.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
The statement said the security services have sealed off the area and conduct search operations in the area to find the attackers and seize their weapons.
The assailants were reportedly using a stolen security vehicle.
The Egyptian army has long been engaged in military operations against militants in the volatile region, which has been under a state of emergency since October 2014.
Last week, armed forces killed at least 30 militants and foiled an attack targeting a security checkpoint in Sinai.
Over the past few years, militants have used the Sinai Peninsula as a safe haven to carry out deadly attacks mainly targeting Egyptian army and police forces.
The latest attack comes as Egypt braces for the fifth anniversary of the January 25, 2011 uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.
Militant attacks in North Sinai flared after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Since then, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands imprisoned in a brutal crackdown targeting Morsi’s supporters.