Two Egyptian soldiers shot dead in Sinai: sources

CAIRO Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:31am EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Two Egyptian soldiers were shot dead on Thursday in the restive north Sinai region bordering Israel, security and medical sources said.

They were on patrol in the town of Sheikh Zuwaid when they were shot at by two unidentified Bedouin tribesmen riding a motorbike with their faces covered, according to eyewitnesses.

Security in the isolated Sinai has deteriorated since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in February 2011.

Groups of militant Islamists scattered across the north of the desert peninsula have attacked police stations and a pipeline exporting gas to Israel and Jordan.

Police have been absent for months from Sheikh Zuwaid and some other cities of north Sinai since last year's uprising. Army troops, seen as more welcome among the local population, are struggling to ensure security in their place.

Israel has demanded that the government in Cairo do more to restore order there.

(Reporting By Tamim Elyan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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