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Egypt police kill six militants in shootout: ministry

Six militants were killed on Saturday [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 January, 2019

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Six militants have been killed in southern Egypt, the country's interior ministry has said.

Egyptian police killed six suspected Islamist militants in a shootout in the country's south early on Saturday, the interior ministry said. 

The clashes broke out during a police raid on a militant hideout in a mountainous area on the edge of the southern province of Sohag, some 460 kilometres (285 miles) south of Cairo, the ministry said in a statement.    

Police seized weapons and ammunition, it added.

The operation is part of "the interior ministry's efforts to confront terrorist organisations aiming to undermine security and stability" in Egypt, it said. 

Earlier this month, a police officer was killed and two others wounded in an explosion outside a church in Egypt.

The blast took place when security personnel were dismantling an explosive device in Nasr City on the edge of Cairo, the source said.

The incident came two days before Egypt's Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

Copts, a Christian minority that make up 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people, have in recent years been repeatedly targeted by IS militants.

Egypt has been battling a militant insurgency following the 2013 ouster of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi, who was forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule.

Attacks have largely been concentrated in the turbulent northern Sinai region, but have also taken place elsewhere across the country.

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