Eight police officers were killed Monday night following a militant attack that targeted their checkpoint located in El-Naqab region near Kharga Oasis. Security forces killed two of the attackers, according to a statement issued by the Interior Ministry.
“A security official stated that the New Valley governorate security directorate received a notification on Monday night that El-Naqab security checkpoint was subjected to a militant attack,” the statement read. “Forces from the checkpoint managed to kill two attackers; however, the attack resulted in the death of eight police officers stationed at the checkpoint and three others injured.”
The ministry asserted that sweeping operations are currently being conducted to arrest the perpetrators of the attacks.
According to testimonies from several eyewitnesses who spoke to state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm, an unknown militant group attacked El-Naqab security checkpoint on Monday evening when militants using four-wheel drive vehicles approached the checkpoint and opened fire against the police officers there.
Following the attack, the militants fled the scene with their four-wheel drive vehicles and hundreds of residents of the New Valley governorate gathered in front of Kharga public hospital to donate blood for the injured.
Moreover, the governorate’s prosecution examined the bodies of the killed police officers in the attack in preparation of issuing burial permits and returning the bodies to their families.
Attacks against police and army are being conducted on a regular basis from the Islamic State-affiliated group “Sinai Province” in North Sinai. These attacks rarely take place outside the Sinai Peninsula.
However, the New Valley governorate has witnessed several similar attacks. The most recent one occurred on the day of the third anniversary of the 30 June uprising, when six military personnel, including two officers, were killed and three others injured in an attack in Al-Farafra Oasis in New Valley.
The attack was reported to have targeted border guard forces securing the border between Egypt and Libya.
At the time, several local media reports said that forces had noticed suspicious movements by four-wheel drive vehicles which did not respond to warning shots. Instead, those inside the vehicles opened fire on the forces and an exchange of fire took place between the two sides, also killing some attackers.
Additionally, Al-Farafra Oasis witnessed a major attack in 2014, when a checkpoint attack conducted by 20 armed men in vehicles equipped with explosives killed 22 Egyptian border guards.