At Least 30 Egyptian Police Officers Killed in Desert Shootout
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Armed militants killed at least 30 police officers in a shootout during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Egypt’s western desert, security sources said on Friday.
A number of suspected militants were also killed and security forces are searching the area, according to a statement from the Egyptian interior ministry, Reuters reported.
Egypt is facing an insurgency concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula – from two main groups, including a Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) affiliate – that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of members of the security forces since 2013.
Militants have launched several major attacks, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities with the loss of dozens of lives.
The security sources said authorities were following a lead to a hideout deep in the desert thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group that has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and police since last year.
A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, a senior source in the Giza security office said. The number of dead was expected to rise, according to two security sources which also revealed that eight security personnel were injured in the clashes. Another source said four of the injured were police officers and four others were suspected militants.
The Egyptian government accuses Hasm of being the militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this.