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Two militants shot dead at Cairo checkpoint

The two militants were members of the militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis

Published: Updated:

Egypt said on Friday its security forces had killed two members of the country’s most active Islamist extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

The interior ministry issued a statement saying one of the men - killed at a checkpoint east of Cairo - was responsible for the group’s operations in the capital’s region, according to the statement.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem), which has allied itself to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is based in the Sinai Peninsula, and claims to be behind most of the major attacks on the security forces since the army ousted elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Police spotted the jihadists' car at a checkpoint, the ministry statement said.

"The occupants of the car opened fire to try to get away, but the police fired back," it added.

"Three policemen and two civilians there by chance were injured" and the two jihadists were killed, it said.

The ministry said the two men killed had taken part in several attacks on the army and the police, including one on November 28 in Cairo that killed a brigadier and a soldier.

Police also found guns and ammunition in an east Cairo apartment used by one of them.

Militants have killed scores of security personnel since Morsi was overthrown, saying the attacks are in retaliation for a brutal government campaign against his supporters.

The widespread crackdown has left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 15,000 jailed.

Most of the deaths occurred when police stormed two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in August last year.

Hundreds more have been sentenced to death after perfunctory mass trials.

(With AFP)