CAIRO (AFP): Egypt’s military said Tuesday its air force had carried out a desert raid, killing “a large number of terrorist elements” responsible for the deaths of 16 policemen earlier this month.
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.
Authorities are fighting the Egyptian branch of Daesh, which has killed hundreds of security personnel in northern Sinai, more than 500 kilometres from the site of this month’s clash.
The state television said Tuesday the military had acted on “confirmed information” on the whereabouts of the militants involved.
The air force attacked a hideout in “a mountainous area west of Fayoum” south of Cairo, it said.
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 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.
No group has yet claimed responsibility.