Suspected militants fire on security checkpoint in Ismailia city, killing three policemen and a citizen, and wounding 12 others, mostly conscripts, officials and state-run media say.

Egypt has been battling Daesh terror group in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for years.
Egypt has been battling Daesh terror group in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for years. (AP Archive)

Suspected militants have attacked a police checkpoint in Egypt’s Suez Canal city of Ismailia, killing at least four people, including three police officers, officials and state-run media said.

Friday's attack also wounded 12 others, mostly conscripts who were taken to hospital, according to a casualty tally document at a hospital.

The dead included three police officers and a still unidentified person, the hospital document obtained by The Associated Press showed.

The attack took place in late afternoon in Ismailia city, on the western side of the Suez Canal, according to security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief media. 

Two cars approached a checkpoint in a residential neighbourhood of the city and two armed assailants opened fire at the policemen, the security source said.

The media office of Ismailia province described the attack as a "terrorist" strike. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

State-run Al Qahera news television reported that security forces killed one of the attackers. Sources said the second gunman escaped with the help of others. 

Al Qahera broadcast graphic footage purportedly showing a body, saying it was the dead militant.

Ismailia is one of the key cities overlooking Egypt's Suez Canal, a vital waterway between Asia and Europe that sees about 10 percent of the world's maritime trade.

The canal is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt, which is struggling with a declining currency and rising inflation.

Previous attacks in Sinai

Egypt has been battling the Daesh group in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for years. 

The militants have carried out numerous attacks in Sinai and elsewhere in the country, mainly targeting security forces, minority Christians and those who they accuse of collaborating with the military and police.

In May, at least 11 Egyptian soldiers, including an officer, were killed in a militant attack on a water pumping station east of the Suez Canal.

The pace of Daesh attacks in Sinai's main theater and elsewhere has slowed to a trickle since February 2018, when the military launched a big operation in Sinai as well as parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country's western border with Libya.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies