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Egypt police kill 6 militants in North Sinai shootout

Al-Mashareq and AFP

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A picture taken on July 26th, 2018 shows Egyptian policemen standing guard at a checkpoint on a road leading to the North Sinai provincial capital of al-Arish. [Khaled Desouki/AFP]

Egyptian police have killed six militants in a shootout in North Sinai, the Interior Ministry said in a statement released Monday (March 16th).

The firefight broke out as police forces raided a hideout of "terrorist elements" intent on carrying out "hostile operations", it said.

Police carried out the raid after Egypt's National Security Agency received information revealing that a terrorist group was using an under-construction building as a hideout in Abu Shalla road in Bir al-Abed, Ahram Online reported.

No casualties were reported among the police.

Police found weapons and explosives in the militants' possession, according to the ministry, which also provided gruesome photos of the slain militants.

The date of the raid was not specified.

Egypt's security forces are battling a long-running insurgency in the peninsula, spearheaded by a local affiliate of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

The army launched a nationwide operation against militants in February 2018, mainly focusing on North Sinai province.

Since then, over 845 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with more than 60 security personnel, according to army figures.

Last month, ISIS said it had blown up a gas pipeline in the Sinai peninsula.

Security sources said the targeted pipeline was a domestic one that connects to a power station in al-Arish, powering homes and factories in central Sinai.

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