At least 21 fighters were killed after clashing with Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, the defense ministry said.
According to a statement released by the ministry, police raided two hideouts of “terrorist elements” in North Sinai governorate, triggering a fierce gun battle. Two soldiers were wounded in the gunfight.
The fighters were reportedly plotting to carry out attacks in the cities during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Security forces recovered automatic weapons and suicide belts in the hideouts.
Egyptian security forces have been fighting a rebellion in the Sinai Peninsula that is spearheaded by a local affiliate of the armed group ISIL (ISIS).
The attacks escalated in 2013 following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi by the military. The military launched a major operation against the fighters in February 2018.