Egyptian security forces have killed 14 suspected militants in a raid carried out in North Sinai in response to a deadly checkpoint attack that took the lives of eight policemen as the nation was celebrating the Muslim Eid al-Fitr, AFP reported on Thursday June 6th, citing the interior ministry.
Wednesday's attack, later claimed by the Isis group, left eight policemen dead southwest of El-Arish, capital of North Sinai, and five militants were killed in exchanges of fire.
Some of the attackers managed to escape but security forces tracked down and killed 14 of them in the raid, the interior ministry said in a statement.
"Following the route of escaped elements responsible for the attack led to a group of terrorist elements in an abandoned hideout in the Masaeed neighbourhood of Al-Arish," the ministry said, adding that the security forces surrounded the suspected militants before engaging "in a heavy shootout" which killed 14 of them.
Fourteen machineguns, three explosive devices and two explosive belts were also found in the militants' possession.
AFP received a recording from a police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, of security forces communications appearing to confirm that a military plane destroyed a tank hijacked by a militant during the attack.
In a statement released by its propaganda wing, Amaq, Isis announced that its fighters had launched "two simultaneous attacks on two police checkpoints" in El-Arish.
The attack was widely condemned by Egypt’s Muslims, who were celebrating the first day of Eid al-Fitr.