Egyptian security officials say four soldiers died when a bomb they were trying to diffuse exploded in northern Sinai, while a separate explosion killed four civilians.

The officials say two officers were among the dead in the explosion Wednesday near the city of Rafah, which borders the Gaza Strip.

Separately, security officials say an anti-tank mine exploded in a nearby area, killing four Bedouin tribesmen. They blamed the extremist Islamic State-affiliated Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, saying it had intended to strike soldiers.

The area has long been a hotspot but attacks picked up radically following the army's ouster of Egypt's Islamist president in 2013.

Units of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis have joined the local Islamic State franchise, which yesterday released a video showing attacks on soldiers that killed several of them.