Security forces in Upper Egypt's Qena province killed three extremists affiliated with the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in a Tuesday (August 8th) raid on a mountainous area used by the group as a training camp.
"Security forces have raided a camp for training terrorists, located in mountainous pathways in Abu Teshet area, on the desert highway in Qena," Qena security chief Maj. Gen. Alaa Mahmoud al-Ayyat said in a statement.
Large amounts of firearms and provisions were seized at the camp belonging to ISIS affiliate Junoud al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), the statement said.
Maj. Ahmed Abdul Fattah, a battalion commander at the Qena central security sector, was killed and five security personnel were wounded in the shootout with the terrorists who were hiding in the mountainous pathways, according to the statement.
Junoud al-Khilafa was behind the two suicide attacks that targeted Christians at St. Mark Church in Alexandria and St. George Church in Tanta last April.
The group also targeted a security checkpoint in the city of Esna in Luxor province on August 4th.
Security forces in Esna continue to look for the perpetrator of the attack, identified as Amr Saad Abbas, the leader of Junoud al-Khilafa. Another member of the group who was accompanying him was apprehended at the scene of the attack.
Increased raids in Upper Egypt
"Security raids on terrorists’ hideouts in al-Menya mountains are continuing and aim to crack down on all terrorists who are hiding in the mountainous areas," said security expert Brig. Gen. Khaled Okasha, who is retired from the Egyptian military.
Security forces, supported by aerial coverage, are combing these areas in search of any extremists, he told Al-Mashareq.
These raids are "a turning point" in the battle against ISIS, he said, adding that "seizing the camp is a painful blow to the group as it was Junoud al-Khilafa's first hideout for training its elements in Upper Egypt".
"The security forces have received instructions to continue to crack down on the group's elements in al-Menya until they are eliminated or arrested," he said.