Egypt's Interior Ministry says smugglers have killed a police officer in northern Sinai, near the border with Israel.

A statement Friday from the ministry says the smugglers shot dead officer Rabie Mostafa after he foiled their "smuggling attempt" on the border late on Thursday night. It says police have cordoned off the area and are searching for the perpetrators.

The statement did not provide further details.

Northern Sinai has been largely closed off to the media since Egypt's security forces launched a campaign against a long-running insurgency there. The insurgency escalated after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 amid massive protests against his rule and cracked down on Islamic groups.