Egypt kills militants in desert raid after deadly attack on police
Egypt's air force killed "a large number of terrorist elements" responsible for the deaths of 16 policemen earlier this month, the military said on Tuesday.
The desert raid targeted a hideout in "a mountainous area west of Fayoum" south of Cairo after the military received "confirmed information" on the whereabouts of the militants involved in the October 20 attack.
The raid destroyed three four-wheel-drive vehicles carrying large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and "extremely explosive material", it said.
Armed forces and police are combing the area for other fugitives, it added.
The defence ministry said that on October 20 it had sent police to the area, less than 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo, after learning that militants there were "hiding, training, and preparing to carry out terrorist operations".
As they approached, militants opened fire with heavy weapons, triggering a shootout that lasted several hours and also left 13 police officers injured and one missing, the ministry said.
The policemen were killed in an October 20 shootout with militants on the road between Cairo and the Bahariya oasis in the Western Desert, a rare flare-up outside the Sinai Peninsula.
No group has yet claimed responsibility, but authorities are fighting the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group, which has killed hundreds of security personnel in northern Sinai, more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the site of this month's clash.
Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula from two main groups, including the Islamic State affiliate.
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.