Egypt: 13 suspected militants killed in western desert shootout

Egypt: 13 suspected militants killed in western desert shootout
A shootout in Egypt's New Vally province ends with the deaths of 13 militants, just a week after gunmen launched a deadly ambush on security forces further north.
2 min read
28 October, 2017
The gun fight took place in Egypt's New Valley province, which borders Libya [AFP]

Security forces in Egypt killed 13 militants during a raid on a hideout in the country's western desert, Egypt's Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the bodies of the 13 unidentified militants were found during a search of the area after the shootout.

No details were given on whether there were police casualties.

The shootout took place during a raid in the New Valley province, which stretches through part of the western desert and goes along a stretch of the Libya-Egypt border, Egypt's state-run MENA news agency reported.

Last week, an ambush on Egyptian security forces led to the deaths of at least 16 policemen in an area further north of Friday's shootout.

An earlier death toll given to the Associated Press by security officials put the death toll above 50, however this was later contradicted by a statement from the government, which put the number at 16.

Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that have killed hundreds of security forces since 2013.

Islamist militants have launched several major attacks, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities with the loss of dozens of lives.

They have maintained a steady war of attrition with sniper attacks and roadside bombings.

But unlike their parent organisation in Iraq and Syria, they have been unable to seize population centres in Egypt.