Nine alleged militants were killed in a fire exchange with the Egyptian security forces in Assiut governate, according to a Monday statement by the Interior Ministry.
The statement said that the nine militants were hiding in a cave near the Assiut-Sohag Western Desert Road.
“Information by the National Security Apparatus unveiled that a group of terrorist elements were hiding in a cave in a remote area in the Assiut-Sohag Western Desert Road,” the ministry said.
Automatic firearms, explosive devices, a large amount of ammunition and documents were confiscated, according to the ministry.
It added that the alleged militants were planning to launch several “hostile attacks” targeting the state’s vital installations.
Since 2013, Egypt has been rocked by several terrorist attacks targeting hundreds of security personnel, mostly carried out by the Islamic State terrorist group’s branch in Sinai.
In what might be a major move in Egypt’s efforts against terrorism, the most wanted Islamist militant and former army officer, Hisham Al-Ashmawy, was finally captured last week by the Libyan National Army in Derna.
Al-Ashmawy, who left Egypt nearly four years ago, was accused by Egyptian authorities of being behind the most dangerous terrorist attacks in Egypt in recent years, including the assassination of Egypt’s public prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, and the Farafra checkpoint attack, which resulted in the death of around 30 soldiers.
With the aim to counter terrorism, the military launched last February a comprehensive operation, dubbed ‘Sinai 2018’, to confront militants in central and North Sinai, the Nile Delta region, and the Western Desert.