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Jul 30, 4:48 AM EDT

Egyptian media: 3 militants die in car explosion

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CAIRO (AP) -- Three suspected militants died Wednesday when a bomb they were carrying in their car apparently went off by accident in a town south of Cairo, Egypt's official news agency reported.

The explosion took place in the early morning hours in the town of el-Saf in Giza province, said MENA. The report quoted unnamed security officials as saying the suspects were carrying an explosive device, which was likely detonated by mistake. MENA gave no further details.

Egypt has battled an Islamic insurgency for the past three years that dramatically escalated after the military's ouster last July of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and its subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

An al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a series of explosions and suicide attacks over the past year.

The group has said in its statements posted on militant websites that it is avenging the killing of Islamist supporters of Morsi at the hands of Egyptian security forces. Morsi's supporters have been staging mostly small, near-daily demonstrations against his ouster and the authorities' heavy crackdown on the Brotherhood.

The Egyptian military has launched a sweeping offensive in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, which is a stronghold of militant groups, killing and capturing dozens of suspected militants.

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