Egyptian medical officials say a homemade bomb in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has killed two soldiers and wounded two other military men.

Rafah hospital said in a statement that the incident happened early Sunday morning, and that one of the wounded, an officer, was in critical condition.

Violence picked up in the area, near the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, last week, with four civilians killed in fighting between the army and Islamic extremists, and at least six soldiers killed in roadside bombings.

Egypt has been hit with a wave of suicide bombings and militant attacks that intensified after the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. A local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.