Egyptian police kill 16 gunmen in raids targeting militants
Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by ISIL in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013
CAIRO // Two Egyptian officers were killed and nine others were injured in a blast that struck a police patrol in the northern Sinai town of Al Arish.
In a statement carried by the state news agency, the ministry said the explosion took place late Saturday, after police officers shot dead 16 gunmen - most of whom were fugitive militants linked to recent attacks on security forces.
Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by ISIL in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013.
At least two policemen were killed and nine wounded when their armoured vehicle was hit by an explosion in the Sinai on Saturday, Egypt's state news agency MENA said.
Saturday's attack came a day after at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs tore through two military checkpoints in the region in an attack claimed by ISIL. It was one of the bloodiest assaults on security forces in years.
The interior ministry said that gunmen had opened fire on police as they approached a desert training camp for militants in Ismailia. The officers returned fire, killing 14 militants, five of whom have been identified so far.
The camp was used to "subject [recruits] to military training programmes on the use of various types of firearms and manufacture explosive devices", the ministry said in a statement.
In a separate statement, the ministry also said its forces killed two men described as fugitive terrorists in an exchange of gunfire in the city of Giza.
The men, who were inside an apartment, opened fire on security forces as soon as the officers approached to arrest them, it said.
The ministry said the pair were members of a newly emerged militant group called Hasm, which claimed responsibility for the killing of a homeland security officer outside his home in Qalubiya, a province just north of Cairo, while on his way to prayers on Friday.
Hasm has claimed several attacks around Cairo targeting judges and policemen since last year.
Other militant groups such as Hasm, which the government says are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, are active in Cairo and other cities where they have targeted security forces, judges and pro-government figures.
The Brotherhood was outlawed in 2013 after the military ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency following mass protests. It maintains that it is a peaceful organisation.
ISIL has also intensified attacks on security forces and Coptic Christian civilians in the mainland in recent months, killing about 100 Copts since December.
Updated: July 9, 2017 08:45 AM