Egyptian Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal al-Din on Sunday fired the general in charge of security in the northern Sinai Peninsula after a visit to the town of El-Arish.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Bakr was dismissed from his post a day after three policemen were shot dead in El-Arish, reportedly by Islamist gunmen.

The suspects pulled in front of a police vehicle in an unmarked truck in the city, before standing up on the truck bed and opening fire, officials said. They then raised a black flag of the sort associated with jihadis and shouted “God is great.”

The decision to sack Bakr came amid a protest by Egyptian policemen, who abandoned their posts due to perceived inaction by the Interior Ministry in the face of recent terror attacks against the security forces in Sinai.

The soldiers left their positions in El-Arish on Sunday, Israel Radio reported.

The border region has witnessed a wave of violence since the fall of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Radical Muslim terrorists in August attacked Israeli and Egyptian military positions on the border and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. The Egyptian military has since launched a campaign to crack down on Islamist militias in the Sinai Peninsula and curb the violence.