CAIRO (AA) – Egyptian police killed five “suspected militants” in a shootout in the restive Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
In a statement, the ministry said police had raided a “terrorist hideout” in the North Sinai city of Arish.
Five militants were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, the ministry said, going on to assert that the slain militants had been planning to carry out attacks on “state institutions and high-profile figures” in Arish.
Three machine guns and one explosive belt were seized in the raid, according to the statement.
Anadolu Agency could not independently verify the ministry's claims, but rights groups often accuse the Egyptian security forces of killing civilians while conducting raids -- allegations denied by the authorities.
The Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicenter of a militant insurgency since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted in a bloody military coup.
Early last year, the Egyptian army launched a major security operation in Sinai with the ostensible aim of hunting down militants.
The offensive followed a string of attacks on security personnel deployed in the restive peninsula.