Gunmen killed three Egyptian policemen and seriously wounded a fourth on Saturday in El-Arish, in the Sinai Peninsula, state television said.
"Armed men who might belong to a jihadist group attacked a police vehicle and fired on its passengers before fleeing," a security source said.
The dead and wounded were taken to the general hospital in El-Arish, where one of the policemen died from serious wounds," a medic said.
A civilian was also wounded.
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Security forces threw up a cordon around the city in an attempt to capture the gunmen.
Security in the desert and mountainous region collapsed after an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Since then, several militant attacks in the Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip, have targeted police and soldiers, including a brazen August 5 ambush on an army outpost that killed 16 soldiers.
On Friday, Bedouin tribesmen attacked a police post in the central Sinai city of Nakhl, attempting to free one of their number who was in detention.