CAIRO - Three fighters from the Egyptian militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis were killed when their car was hit by an Israeli drone in the Sinai region, the group said on Friday.

An Egyptian Defense Ministry source denied the incident, however.

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"There has been no violation of Egyptian airspace by any kind of aircraft, whether Israeli or others," the source said.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis made the announcement on Friday morning on a website on which it regularly posts its statements.

"A number of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis Jihadists were martyred as their car was hit by an Israeli drone on Wednesday evening," the group said in the statement, listing three.

The United States designated the group as a terrorist organization in April, saying it had launched rockets at Israel's southern city of Eilat and attacked Israeli border guards. It has also targeted Egyptian and foreign tourists and Israel, the department said.

The Sinai-based group, formed in the wake of the 2011 uprisings in Egypt, has claimed responsibility for several high-profile attacks, including an assassination attempt on Egypt's interior minister last year.

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