Egypt says security forces kill 15 militants in Sinai
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian said Wednesday that police have killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout in the northern Sinai Peninsula, where they are battling an Islamic State-led insurgency.
The Interior Ministry says the militants were killed during a raid on their hideout in the city of el-Arish, where they were planning attacks on security forces in the coming days. It says security forces dismantled two explosive devices and seized weapons.
The statement did not say when the raid took place or whether any security forces were killed or wounded.
It wasn’t possible to independently confirm the report as access to the northern Sinai is heavily restricted.
Earlier this week, the Islamic State group said one of its leaders in Sinai has been killed. The group’s Aamaq news agency announced the death of Abu Hamza al-Maqdisi late Monday, calling him a “martyr” without saying where or how he died.
A photo of a young, smiling, bearded man accompanied the report. IS says he was killed recently, without specifying the day.
Egypt has been battling militants for years, but the Sinai-based insurgency gained strength after the 2013 military overthrow of the country’s first elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, whose brief rule was divisive.
In February, Egypt launched a nationwide operation against militants.