CAIRO - An assault involving a car bomb against an Egyptian security checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula killed seven policeman and a civilian on Monday, the interior ministry said.

The ministry said assailants tried driving a vehicle packed with explosives into a checkpoint, but police fired on it, setting it off before it reached the post.

The assailants also fired rocket propelled grenades at the checkpoint in the North Sinai city of El-Arish.

Seven policemen and a civilian passerby were killed in the attack, the ministry said, adding that policemen who returned fire killed five militants.

The Islamic State group’s Egyptian branch in the Sinai Peninsula has carried out several such attacks over the past two years. Eight people were also wounded in the attack, state newspaper Al-Ahram reported on its website.

Militants have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, which unleashed a bloody crackdown on his supporters.

Most of the attacks have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

In November, a car bomb attack on a checkpoint in Sinai killed eight soldiers.