St. Catherine's Monastery
St. Catherine's MonasteryReuters

Egyptian security forces on Wednesday killed a gunman suspected of shooting dead a policeman near St. Catherine's monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, the interior ministry said, according to AFP.

Three other officers were wounded in the attack, which took place on Tuesday night in South Sinai province at a checkpoint near the ancient site.

The shooting, which the ministry said was carried out by "a number of gunmen", was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

"Security forces in South Sinai, in cooperation with Bedouin elements tracked the perpetrators' escape route and closed roads that would be used to escape" the scene of the shooting, the ministry said in a statement quoted by AFP.

It said the suspect began firing after he was found by security forces, "which required the forces to quickly deal with him, injuring him and leading to his death."

Security staff found an automatic weapon and ammunition, adding that "investigations are ongoing to identify the terrorist."

St. Catherine's, founded in the 6th century and located at the foot of Mount Sinai, is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site.

The attack near the monastery came a week after the bombings of two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, which were also claimed by ISIS.

At least 43 people were killed in the bombings in Tanta and Alexandria which went off as worshipers were gathering to mark Palm Sunday.

Following the attacks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in the country.

ISIS has threatened to carry out more attacks on Copts, which make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of more than 90 million people.

In 2015, ISIS released a video purportedly showing the beheading of the Coptic Christians it had captured in the Libyan capital Tripoli.