At least five policemen and four alleged smugglers were killed on Tuesday in a shootout near a northern Egyptian town after security forces tried to stop a vehicle suspected of carrying weapons and explosives, security sources said.

The attack happened in the Mediterranean province of Marsa Matrouh, about 175 km (110 miles) west of the city of Alexandria, in a coastal area popular with beachgoers.

Egypt has been hit by an Islamist insurgency, which is based mainly in the Sinai Peninsula near Israel, since the army ousted elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood last year. […]