Egypt government lowers medics' death toll from police-militant clashes

Egypt government lowers medics' death toll from police-militant clashes
Egypt's interior ministry has given an official death toll of clashes between security forces and militants at half the one reported by medics.
1 min read
21 October, 2017
The Egyptian interior ministry has downplayed a death toll of Friday's shootout [AFP]

At least sixteen Egyptian policemen were killed during a shoot-out between security forces and militants between Cairo and the Bahariya oasis in the country's Western Desert.

This figure contradicts a higher toll given earlier by security and medical sources that state at least 35 Egyptian police  officers were killed in the clashes, which began on Friday night.

The ministry said that 15 militants were killed as security forces chased them into the desert after the clashes.

On Friday medical sources said 35 policemen were killed in a clash with armed militants in Egypt's Western desert.

Militants were also killed in the shootout, which took place near a suspected militant hideout, an interior ministry statement said.

According to two security sources cited by Reuters, the police were searching for the hideout of eight suspected members of the Hasm militant group. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks around Egypt in the last year and is thought to be linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A more violent and radical Islamic State group-alligned insurgency is also raging in the Sinai region.