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The New Arab

Militants kill at least 30 police in Egypt's Western desert

The Hasm group has launched several attacks in Egypt since last year [AFP]

Date of publication: 21 October, 2017

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Armed militants launch a deadly ambush on security personnel who were seeking out a militant hideout deep in Egypt's Western desert.

At least 30 policemen were killed in a clash with armed militants in Egypt's Western desert, security sources said on Friday.

Militants were also killed in the shootout, which took place near a suspected militant hideout, an Interior Ministry statement said.

According to two security sources cited by Reuters, the police were searching for the hideout of eight suspected members of the Hasm militant group. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks around Egypt in the last year.

The security convoy of SUVs and an interior ministry vehicle were ambushed by gunmen who were positioned on higher terrain, another security source told the London-based news agency.

Officials expect the number of dead to rise.

Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that have killed hundreds of security forces since 2013.

Islamist militants have launched several major attacks, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities with the loss of dozens of lives.

They have maintained a steady war of attrition with sniper attacks and roadside bombings.

But unlike their parent organisation in Iraq and Syria, they have been unable to seize population centres in Egypt.

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