CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian security forces on Sunday killed nine suspected militants in a shootout in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, the interior ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said security forces had received information that the militants were using a farm in Sharqiya as a hideout and were trained there to use weapons to carry out attacks in north Sinai.
It said their attacks had resulted in the deaths of a number of police and army personnel.
“Upon raiding the farm, security forces were surprised by gunshots in their direction which were dealt with, resulting in the killing of nine,” the ministry said.
It said it was still trying to determine the identity of the suspects. Weapons and ammunition were found at the farm.
In a separate raid in Cairo on a “terrorist hideout”, police arrested nine other suspected militants on Sunday, the ministry said in the same statement. Those arrested all have ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, it said.
Security forces have battled Islamist militants in the mainly desert region stretching from the Suez Canal eastwards to the Gaza Strip and Israel, since 2013. Militants there have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the armed forces to end the insurgency within three months after an attack on a mosque in North Sinai last month that killed more than 300 people in Egypt’s worst militant attack in modern history.
(Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)