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Mourners carry the coffin of Egyptian policeman Taha Ahmed Ibrahim during his funeral in Cairo's Maasara district after he was killed a day earlier on the border with Israel as Israeli troops pursued militants behind deadly attacks. -AFP Photo

CAIRO: Egyptian security officials said on Friday that five policemen were killed the previous day near the Israel border as Israeli and Egyptian forces searched for gunmen behind a deadly attack on Israelis.

There were conflicting reports about how the policemen died. The security official said they were killed by unknown gunmen, but a military official told the state MENA agency the night before they were killed by Israeli fire.

Security officials earlier said three policemen were killed on Thursday when an Israeli Apache gunship fired a rocket at militants it was pursuing along the border, after attacks on Israeli buses and cars killed eight.

State television said five Egyptians were killed in the incident, three policemen and two unidentified men.

An Israeli military commander said that, after the attacks in Israel, Israeli and Egyptian security forces killed four of the militants on the Egyptian side of the border, which Sinai officials denied.

The military has said it is combing the border with Israel and beefing up security after Thursday's attack north of the Israeli town of Eilat, in which militants attacked two buses, a military vehicle and a civilian car.

Egypt's military, which launched a sweeping operation in Sinai to uproot militants, is facing increased pressure to secure the restive peninsula.