An Egyptian policeman stands guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Egyptian security police have killed four suspected “Takfiri” militants, including a commander, believed to have been preparing to launch a “major terrorist attack” in the near future, the Egyptian Interior Ministry says.
According to a statement released by the ministry on Friday, the shootout occurred in the town of Kerdasa, located in the northern province of Giza, a day earlier, when police raided the hideout of the “wanted” militants to arrest them but they resisted.
“When the terrorist cell sensed the police drawing near they began shooting at them, which prompted the police force to fire back,” the statement said, adding that the commander, identified as Mohammad Farhat Abdul Majid, was killed along with three of his companions in the ensuing shootout.
Police also seized a number of weapons and some ammunition from the hideout.
The ministry, however, did not comment on the suspects’ affiliation and only described them as “Takfiri” militants, an adjective Egyptian police often use to call terrorists belonging to either the Daesh terrorist group or the al-Qaeda terror organization.
Militants from the Daesh-linked Velayat Sinai Takfiri group, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have claimed responsibility for the killing of hundreds of Egyptian police officers and soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula over the past months.
The Egyptian military launched a large-scale security operation against Daesh positions in Sinai in September 2015, following coordinated terrorist attacks on several army checkpoints that claimed the lives of 21 soldiers in July that year.
Such attacks have increased since the 2013 ouster by the military of Egypt
’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi.