Egypt’s interior ministry said Sunday 18 suspected militants were killed in North Sinai in a firefight with security forces, two days after a deadly blast claimed by ISIS.
“National security received intelligence about terrorist elements hiding out in a home in Bir al-Abed, where they were planning to launch hostile operations,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Their hideout was targeted and a firefight ensued which led to the death of 18 (militants).”
Security forces found 13 automatic weapons, two explosive belts and three other explosive devices in their possession, the ministry said.
Egypt’s army said Thursday that 10 soldiers, including an officer, had been killed or wounded in an explosion targeting an armored vehicle near Bir al-Abed in North Sinai.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, in a statement posted on its propaganda channels.
On Friday, the Egyptian army killed two suspected militants in North Sinai province, army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said.
Security forces have been battling a long-running insurgency in the area, spearheaded by a local ISIS affiliate.
The fighting intensified after the military’s 2013 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
In February 2018, security forces launched a nationwide operation against militants, focused on North Sinai.
More than 800 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures.