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9 militants killed, 9 arrested in Egypt raids

Egyptian security forces have launched raids on hideouts of militants in the capital Cairo and northeast of the country, killing nine and arresting nine more.

The Egyptian interior ministry said in a statement Sunday that nine suspected militants had been killed in a shootout in a farm in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya.

“Upon raiding the farm, security forces were surprised by gunshots in their direction which were dealt with, resulting in the killing of nine,” the ministry said, adding that militants had used the farm as a hideout and were trained there to use weapons to carry out attacks in North Sinai.

It also said that a number of police and army personnel had been killed as a result of attacks that mostly originated from the farm in Sharqiya.

The statement said weapons and ammunition were found at the farm, adding that authorities were now determining the identity of the suspects.

The ministry said police on Sunday also arrested nine other militants in another raid in Cairo. It designated the hideout of the militants as a “terrorist” one, saying the suspected militants were linked to Muslim Brotherhood, the most prominent political party in Egypt which has been outlawed under the country’s broad definition of terrorism law.

Banning the Brotherhood and arresting thousands of its members has proved to be costly for Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The former army chief became president in 2014, one year after he led a popular coup against an administration run by the Brotherhood. The coup paved the way for an increase in militancy in Sinai, where a branch of Takfiri group Daesh operates, while the mainland Egypt has also suffered attacks by various terrorist groups.

More than 300 people were killed last month when militants assaulted a mosque in North Sinai. The attack prompted Sisi to order the armed forces to end the insurgency within three months although many suspect the decree could really put an end to the terror campaign.

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