An Egyptian security official says an off-duty policeman has been shot dead by gunmen in the restive north of the Sinai Peninsula.

The official said the 32-year-old first sergeant was walking home after work on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire, killing him on the spot in el-Arish, the provincial capital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Over a dozen policemen have been shot in the same neighborhood, home to many policemen, since last summer.

Attacks have surged against police and soldiers in recent months as the government has sought to root out militants in northern Sinai. On Tuesday, 11 policemen were killed by a roadside bomb. A senior militant was killed Sunday.