Wed, 21 Aug 2019

Egyptian police killed five suspected Islamic militants in North Sinai, where security forces are fighting an insurgency led by an affiliate of the Islamic State group, the government said on Wednesday.

The interior ministry said in a statement that a shootout broke out between the police and militants during a raid on their hideout in the provincial capital El-Arish.

It alleged the militants, who had been under surveillance, had been planning attacks on "important and vital facilities" as well as prominent figures in the city.

The ministry did not say when the shootout occurred.

Egypt has for years been battling an insurgency in North Sinai, which escalated following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Since then, hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in militant attacks.

Egypt launched a nationwide operation against militants in February 2018, mainly focused on the turbulent northern Sinai region.

Some 500 militants and 30 soldiers have been killed in the north and the centre of Sinai since the beginning of the offensive, according to the armed forces.

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