Militants killed 13 Egyptian policemen in an attack Saturday on a checkpoint south of northern Sinai's provincial capital of el-Arish, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said.

A Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement circulated on social media. The Associated Press could not independently verify theclaim.

The local IS affiliate has been targeting Egyptian security forces in Sinai and claimed the downing of a Russian airliner last October that killed 224 people.

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. The local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

While the attacks have largely been carried out in northern Sinai, explosions have also hit areas on the mainland including Cairo, the capital.