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Official: Militant attacks in Sinai leave 1 dead, 8 wounded

From Ben Wedeman and Amir Ahmed, CNN
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Mon September 17, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Criminal elements" attack a police station in northern Sinai, a spokesman says
  • NEW: Another armed group attacks Egyptian troops in the region, state news reports
  • 8 soldiers are hurt, 1 fatally; 2 civilians are also hurt, the ministry spokesman adds
  • There has been ongoing violence in the Sinai, where Egypt borders Israel

Editor's note: Read a version of this story in Arabic

Cairo (CNN) -- Two militant attacks in Egypt's volatile northern Sinai region on Sunday left one Egyptian soldier dead and eight injured, state-run media reported, citing an Interior Ministry spokesman.

"Criminal elements" launched an attack around 8 a.m. Sunday, using automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades against the police headquarters in El-Arish in northern Sinai, said Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali with the interior ministry, as quoted by the state-run Middle East News Agency.

Another armed group, meanwhile, attacked Egyptian troops in another part of northern Sinai, south of the town of Sheikh Zwayed, according to Ali.

The latter gunfight led to injuries to seven Egyptian troops and two civilians -- a woman and a 10-year-old girl -- said the spokesman.

All those wounded were taken to area hospitals, where one soldier later succumbed to his injuries.

Ten people suspected of being involved in the attacks have been detained, while security forces continue to go after others, Ali said.

Egyptian security has been fighting militants in Sinai since August, when 16 border guards were killed in an attack by Islamist militants.

On Friday, Islamist militants attacked a base housing an international peacekeeping force, the Multinational Force & Observers mission that has supervised the security aspects of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty since 1979.

The attack came after a demonstration outside the force's North Camp in el Gorah "turned violent," the force said.

"Individuals throwing Molotov cocktails and explosive devices breached the camp's perimeter. The breach was quickly contained by the professional actions of MFO personnel," the force said in a statement.

Egypt has been rocked by discord. Citizens were outraged last week over the denigration of the Prophet Mohammed in an anti-Islam film. There were days of demonstrations at the U.S. Embassy and Tahrir Square in Cairo.

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