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Five Egyptian police killed in checkpoint attack, says state TV

Police and the army have said they are closing in on militants following a spate of attacks
A policeman stands guard in Cairo, Egypt, on 28 April (Reuters)
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Five Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack on Friday at a checkpoint in Giza province, south of the capital, police officials and state television said.

The attack took place near Badrasheen, a town some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Cairo, where militants have also targeted police in the past.

The killings came as police and the army said they are closing in on militants following a spate of attacks in the Nile Valley and the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt has struggled to quell the Islamic State group based in the Sinai Peninsula and smaller militant groups in the mainland since the military overthrew president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his supporters.

At least 23 Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai attacks
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IS killed at least 21 soldiers in restive north Sinai on 7 July, the same day as the militant Hasam group claimed responsibility for shooting dead a secret police officer north of Cairo.

The interior ministry said a day later that it had killed 14 alleged IS members in a raid on a training camp in the eastern province of Ismailiya.

Earlier this week, the ministry said police had killed six IS militants in a shootout in southern Egypt.

While smaller groups like Hasam have mostly targeted policemen and government officials, IS has also attacked foreign tourists and Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

Dozens of Christians have been killed in church bombings and shootings since last December in attacks claimed by IS.

On Thursday, Christian churches said they were suspending some activities such as conferences and religious trips for three weeks over security concerns.