Two people have been killed and six wounded in an attack on a security checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai, as a police base elsewhere in the peninsula came under mortar fire.

Medics and security officials said one of the dead appeared to be a civilian whose car was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on Wednesday. They did not identify the other casualty.

The attack took place in the remote village of Sadr El-Heytan, located in the centre of the province.

The checkpoint, in the middle of the peninsula, was manned by soldiers and police, they said.

Near the north Sinai border town of Rafah, fighters attacked a police base with mortar rounds and a truck-mounted heavy machine gun, and also attacked another police checkpoint in the town of El-Arish, 27 miles west of Rafah.

The Sinai area, near the border with Israel, has been the site of several attacks in the last week, as fighters capitalise on instability following the removal of President Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Last Sunday, one Egyptian soldier was killed and a police officer was wounded in an attack on a security checkpoint in Sinai, and five security officers were killed in skirmishes with suspected fighters on Friday. 

On Wednesday, Egypt opened its crossing with the Gaza Strip for several hours to allow stranded Palestinians to return to the enclave and for others to leave after five days of closure.

The Rafah crossing is the only gateway to the world for the 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is governed by Hamas group, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Egyptian authorities ordered the passage closed last Friday.

Ghazi Hamad, Hamas's deputy foreign minister, said the crossing would remain open for a few hours on Wednesday so Palestinians could return and so foreigners, patients due to receive medical treatment in Cairo and Palestinians with residency permits in third countries could leave the Gaza Strip.

Source: Agencies