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Raid erupts into gunfight as dozens of police officers killed in Egypt

22 October 2017, 02:40 | Marta Robbins

Police officers were killed in the shootout

Police officers were killed in the shootout

Since Sisi came to power, hundreds of troops and police have been killed in often sophisticated attacks by militants in the northern Sinai region, where Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014.

An official statement issued on October 21 said the incident would be investigated, suggesting that the heavy death toll may have been partially caused by incompetence, intelligence failures, or lack of coordination.

At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed in a shootout during a raid on a militant hideout about 80 miles from the Egyptian capital, the Associated Press reported, citing security officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The militants had opened fire as the police moved in to apprehend them. Ever since he led a military coup to oust the elected Islamist government of Mohamed Morsi four years ago, Sissi has portrayed himself as a linchpin in the fight against terrorism.

The security forces are said to have launched an attack following a lead that eight suspected members of militant group Hasm were in the area.

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"A number of policemen" were killed in the operation, said the Egyptian interior ministry but did not reveal the exact casualty figures from the confrontation.

The violence erupted when security forces targeted insurgents near the Bahariya oasis in the country's Western Desert, about 100 miles from the capital Cairo. Egyptian authorities say it is the armed militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement in violent attacks against security forces.

Earlier this month, Sisi extended for a second time a state of emergency first declared after bombings claimed by IS in two churches that killed at least 45 people in April.

The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks around Cairo, targeting judges and police officers over the past year.



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