EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian security officials say three policemen and a civilian have been killed in the restive northern Sinai peninsula where Islamic militants are active.

The officials said on Thursday that the policemen, who were riding a car outside the town of el-Arish, were killed in an ambush by militants in the area. They added that the militants also killed a civilian and wounded another.

The officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said the militants fled the scene after the attack.

Egypt has for years been battling militants in northern Sinai, now spearheaded by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group. The insurgency picked up steam following the ouster in 2013 of elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi whose one year in office proved divisive.

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