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Egypt militants kill dozens of police in raid

October 21, 2017

A botched raid has left more than 50 soldiers and police dead, according to reports. The government has struggled to contain an insurgency since the military overthrew Egypt's first democratically elected leader.

Armed Egyptian police
Image: picture-alliance/AP

More than 50 Egyptian troops and police officers were killed during a raid on a militant hideout southwest of Cairo, local media reported on Saturday, citing security sources.

The firefight occurred in the Bahariya oasis on the Western Desert, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southwest of the capital, after security forces received information on the militants' location.

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The Interior Ministry reported that a "number" of police officers had been killed, as well as some militants, but did not elaborate. 

Militants claim responsibility

Police on their way to a hideout used by the Hasm militant group reportedly came under attack with rocket-propelled grenades.

Hasm claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming in a statement to have killed at least 28 members of the security forces and wounded 32 others. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks around Cairo, targeting judges and police officers over the past year.

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Egypt has been in a heightened state of turmoil and violence since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's first democratically elected president, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.

The government accuses Hasm of being a militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group it outlawed after 2013's military coup. The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement in violent attacks against security forces.

Growing insurgency

Hasm are not the only militants facing off against Egyptian authorities. "Islamic State" (IS) militants based in the Sinai Peninsula have also increased attacks across the country recently.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since IS militants launched a series of bombings and suicide attacks that killed scores of Coptic Christians earlier this year.

Read more: Egypt's tourism industry suffers a critical blow

Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, who serves as the state-backed authority on Islam, issued a statement condemning the killings.

ls,bik/aw (AP, Reuters, dpa)