Egyptian forces kill 5 militants in shootout

By Ahmed al-Sharqawi in Cairo


Egyptian forces destroyed a four-wheel drive vehicle belonging to militants in North Sinai on Tuesday (December 5th). [Photo from army spokesman Tamer al-Refaie Facebook page]

Egyptian security forces killed five militants during a raid Monday (December 4th) on a hideout north-east of Cairo where they were training to carry out attacks, AFP reported.

Last month, militants carried out a bomb and gun assault on a mosque in al-Rawda village in North Sinai province, killing more than 300 people in the deadliest attack in Egypt's recent history.

The militants killed in Monday's raid were at a desert hideout located between the 10th of Ramadan city and Belbeis town in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The security forces came under heavy fire as they surrounded the hideout, forcing them to "deal with the source of the shooting", the ministry said.

This led to the death of five unidentified militants, it said.

The militants had been training to use firearms at the location, where security forces found weapons, ammunition and explosive devices, the ministry said.

The ministry said they also arrested six other "elements" from the same group who were observing "some vital buildings in preparation to carry out a series of hostile operations against them" in Cairo and the southern province of Assiut.

ISIS leaders arrested

In Sinai, the tribes of al-Tarabin, al-Sawarka and al-Tiyaha are co-operating with Egypt’s security agencies in the fight against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

A security crackdown has nabbed five ISIS elements in al-Arish, including two senior ISIS leaders, strategic and security expert Maj. Gen. Hossam Swailem told Al-Mashareq.

"The security agencies had information that the two defendants were involved in planning the attack on al-Rawda mosque in North Sinai," he said.

Security forces are now tightening the noose on ISIS in Sinai, which is denying the group the ability to confront, he said.

"ISIS has lost 400 of its elements over the past three months in raids by the armed forces and police on its hideouts, including four members of the group’s Shura Council," Swailem said.

"The group can only launch guerrilla-style attacks on the people of Sinai to prove its existence," he added.

"That is why it kidnapped 17 year-old Amr Moussa Mohammed, from al-Tarabin tribe, and later announced they had killed him on social media websites," he said.

Furthermore, ISIS is now threatening to target mosques to distract security forces from cracking down on the group's hideouts, Swailem said.

Egypt's 2nd field army has destroyed many hideouts in Sinai used by extremists to hide and store weapons, ammunition and administrative supplies, army spokesman Tamer al-Refaie said on Tuesday.

One four-wheel drive vehicle belonging to militants was discovered and destroyed, and those on board were killed as they prepared to attack a security checkpoint, he said.

Another vehicle loaded with administrative supplies and materials used in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) also was destroyed, he said.

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May God give you victory, army of Egypt!