Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced in a Sunday statement that 18 militants have been killed in North Sinai by Egyptian police forces in shootouts near North Sinai’s city of Bir al-Abd.
According to the statement, the group was planning to carry out terrorist attacks targeting army and police personnel.
The National Security Agency had been tipped off regrading the hideout of a terrorist group on the outskirts of Bir al-Abd, which they were using to plot out the attacks.
Security forces and the militants exchanged fire at the location, leading to the deaths of 18 terrorists, the statement described.
Police seized six automatic guns, three improvised explosive devices, and two explosive belts according to the Interior Ministry’s statement.
The statement added that the Interior Ministry is continuing to track down militant extremist groups seeking to carry out attacks in Egypt and abroad.
Police filed a report on the militants’ deaths and referred it to the Supreme State Security Prosecution for further investigation.
On Thursday military spokesman Tamer al-Refai said that an explosive device targeted an armored vehicle south of the city of Bir al-Abd, causing 10 casualties.
Refai stated that 10 soldiers were either killed or wounded in the incident, but did not specify how many had died. There was at least one officer in the group.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave his condolences in a post on Facebook, praising the soldiers as “heroes” and “martyrs.”
The Egyptian military has for years been waging a bloody insurgency against Islamist militants in Egypt. Violence escalated in 2013, following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the army.
Scores of Egyptian security personnel have been killed in attacks, primarily by militants from a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.
In 2018, Egyptian security forces launched a nationwide operation targeting militants, focusing on the restive North Sinai region.
According to army data, at least 845 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with more than 60 security personnel.