Egypt police during Sinai raids (Photo:Reuters)
Three Egyptian policemen and a soldier were injured near the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwaid on Saturday when armed men fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy during an operation against militants following the killing of 16 border guards.
The attack took place while the police were on their way back to the city of Al-Arish after arresting two suspects at the border town of Rafah, a security source said.
"The forces were entrapped by extremists when they were returning from a raid in Rafah ... one armoured vehicle was targeted by a rocket," the source said. They could not identify or pursue the attackers, he added.
Disorder has been spreading in turbulent North Sinai, a region awash with guns that has felt neglected for years by the central government. Mubarak's government had worked closely with Israel to keep the border region under control.
Egypt blamed the 5 August border attack on "Islamic militants" and has launched a joint army-police operation that has raided [alleged] militant hideouts, arrested their members and seized weapons.
A Sinai-based Islamist militant organisation, the Salafi Jihadi Group, warned the Egyptian army last week that the crackdown on jihadists in the area would force it to fight back.
There have been frequent reports of attacks on police and army checkpoints since the crackdown began, but often without casualties.