Islamist gunmen stage multiple attacks in Sinai

CAIRO Thu Jul 4, 2013 9:41pm EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamist gunmen staged multiple attacks on security forces in Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula early on Friday, two days after the army overthrew elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, security sources and state television reported.

The security sources said a soldier was killed and two were wounded when a police station in Rafah on the border with the Gaza Strip came under rocket fire. The police post is close to the local headquarters of military intelligence.

Earlier, attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at army checkpoints guarding El Arish airport, close to the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel, in the latest of a string of security incidents in the lawless region, the sources said.

It was not clear whether the attacks were coordinated and in reaction to Mursi's removal. Islamist militants believed to have links to al Qaeda have established a foothold in the sparsely populated desert peninsula, sometimes in league with local Bedouin smugglers and with Palestinian militants from Gaza.

Egypt has struggled to control security in the region since the ousting of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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