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3 police killed in Sinai drive-by shooting

Terrorists continue to carry out attacks despite major military crackdown

Illustrative: The charred remains of an armored vehicle are loaded onto a truck after a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a police checkpoint in el-Arish, Egypt, Friday, July 12, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Muhammed Sabry)
Illustrative: The charred remains of an armored vehicle are loaded onto a truck after a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a police checkpoint in el-Arish, Egypt, Friday, July 12, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Muhammed Sabry)

Terrorists shot and killed three Egyptian police officers in a drive-by attack in the city of el-Arish Wednesday evening.

Medical sources told al-Arabiya that one policeman died instantly after being shot in the neck while standing outside a police station in north Sinai’s largest city. The assailants then fled the scene in their vehicle.

Earlier, gunmen attacked two security checkpoints outside the city, including one at the airport, according to the MENA state news agency. No casualties were reported in those attacks.

Wednesday’s attacks came amid the Egyptian military’s heaviest crackdown to date against terrorist groups in the restive peninsula.

On Monday, Israel approved Cairo’s request to allow two more infantry battalions into the Sinai region.

The new forces will join a large number of Egyptian troops already operating in the area in an agreed departure from the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace agreement.

The additional forces mean that Egypt now has 11 infantry battalions deployed in the Sinai, as well as a tank battalion and assault helicopters — all dispatched with Israel’s formal approval, as required by the treaty.

Since the military deposed the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on July 3, militant groups have lashed out with increased violence. The peninsula has seen several recent attacks, assassination attempts and kidnappings. In the past two weeks, at least nine Egyptian security officers have been killed in battles with gunmen.

On Tuesday, gunmen attacked an Egyptian army camp near Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip, wounding six soldiers and a civilian.

Officials say unidentified militants attacked the barracks with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

A stray bullet wounded a 50-year-old woman in the Egyptian city of Rafah.

Two military officers and four soldiers were also wounded in the nighttime attack. Officials say they were treated at the outpost out of fears that an ambulance transporting them would be targeted. Officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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