(AFP) CAIRO — Egyptian security forces have killed 14 Islamist militants in an exchange of fire in the country’s turbulent northern Sinai region, the interior ministry said Sunday.
The militants were under surveillance ahead of security forces raiding their hideout in the town of El-Arish, the ministry said in a statement.
An exchange of fire lasting several hours killed eight militants, the ministry said without detailing when the raid took place. The other six attempted to flee but were killed in a police chase.
The militants were suspected of planning attacks on “important and vital facilities,” armed forces and police personnel, the interior ministry said.
Egypt has for years been battling an insurgency in North Sinai, which upsurged following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Hundreds of police and soldiers have since been killed in militant attacks.
Security forces have since February been conducting a major operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Islamic State group which is spearheading the insurgency.