Two members of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed in an exchange of gunfire with Egyptian security forces in the Nile Delta on Friday, April 11, the Interior Ministry said, and the Islamist group said another of its supporters was shot dead in Alexandria, Reuters reported.
Attacks on the security forces have become commonplace since the army deposed president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July after mass protests against his rule. The state has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group, but its leaders say it remains committed to peaceful activism.
Egypt's Interior Ministry said the Nile Delta shootout began when Brotherhood activists on motorbikes were spotted attempting to set alight a police checkpoint on a road between the cities of Tanta and al-Mahalla al-Kubra north of Cairo.
They opened fire on police as they tried to flee, it said.
"The forces encircled them and took the necessary security measures and exchanged fire. That led to the death of two of them," the ministry said in a statement. Three others were arrested, it added.
The Brotherhood had no immediate comment on the incident, according to Reuters.
The death in Alexandria was confirmed by senior ambulance service official Omar Nasr. The website of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party identified the man killed as 50-year old Abdel Hakim el-Zamzami. It said he had been shot by security forces and "militias" as they tried to break up a protest.
The increased political violence in the Arab world's most populous country poses a big challenge to former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Morsi last July and is expected to become Egypt's next president after a May election.