Militants killed in Sinai shootout


Egyptian security forces killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout during a raid on a hideout near al-Arish, capital of North Sinai, state news agency MENA and security sources said.

The men were suspected of planning attacks on security checkpoints ahead of the 45th anniversary of Egypt’s October 6, 1973 war with Israel, the sources and MENA said, quoting an interior ministry statement.

The news agency did not identify the suspects or say if there were casualties or injuries among security forces.

Police seized automatic weapons in the raid on a farm west of al-Arish where the suspected militants were hiding, MENA said.

The raid comes as the Egyptian army, backed by police, push ahead with a military operation to crush Islamist militants following a wave of attacks on civilians and military personnel in Sinai.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last November ordered armed forces to defeat Islamist militants within three months after an attack on a mosque in Sinai killed more than 300 people.

Defeating the militants and restoring security after years of unrest is a key promise of Sisi, who was re-elected in March in a landslide victory against no real opposition.

Sisi critics accuse him of cracking down on all dissent, but supporters say tough measures are needed to stabilise Egypt, rocked by years of unrest after protests toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The media is not given access to cover high-security operations in Sinai.