Tunisia Islamist attack
The Sidi Ali Ben Aoun shooting comes months after Islamist gunmen stormed the Bardo museum in Tunis Reuters

Several police officers and a suspect jihadi were killed in a gunfight in Tunisia, as the northern African country steps up its clampdown on Islamist radicals after the deadly attack on Tunis Bardo museum in March.

The interior ministry said clashes erupted as officers with the national guard moved to apprehend two suspected extremists travelling on a motorbike at a checkpoint near the central town of Sidi Ali Ben Aoun.

"The national guard attempted to ambush at dawn two terrorists on a motorcycle in Sidi Ali Ben Aoun after obtaining information that [they] were about to launch an operation," interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told AFP.

The jihadi gunmen opened fire, killing three officers before fleeing the scene. They were pursued by national guard officers, who eventually shot one suspect dead and arrested the other, the ministry said.

The incident comes three months after 22 people, including British, French and Italian tourists, were killed by militants that stormed Tunisia's leading historical museum.

Two of the attackers were killed at the scene by Tunisian security forces and authorities have since focused their efforts on tracking down possible accomplices and linked groups.

The Islamic State (Isis) group initially claimed responsibility for the shooting, although authorities later alleged the gunmen were members of another jihadi group, the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade.