CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian security forces have killed 11 suspected militants in a shootout near the Sinai, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, just days after more than 300 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in North Sinai.
The shootout occurred during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the Sinai-bordering province of Ismailia, the ministry said in a statement.
It said the area was being used by militants to train and store weapons and logistical equipment for attacks in North Sinai.
Militants detonated a bomb and then gunned down fleeing worshippers in last Friday’s mosque attack, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assault, but Egypt’s public prosecutor linked Islamic State militants to the attack, citing interviews with wounded survivors who said militants brandished an Islamic State flag.
Six suspected militants were arrested as part of the operations, which also included a raid on an additional suspected militant hideout in the 10th of Ramadan, an area just outside of Cairo.
Since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region of North Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
The interior ministry statement on Tuesday did not directly link the suspected militants targeted in the operations to last week’s mosque attack.
(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Richard Balmforth)