Egypt: over 50 police killed in clashes with militants
At least 54 Egyptian policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, have been killed in a shoot-out during a raid on an Islamic militant hideout southwest of Cairo, security officials said on October 21.
Six others were wounded in the incident and the death toll was expected to rise.
The officials said the exchange of fire began late on October 20 in the Al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135 kilometers southwest of the capital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
The Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, gave a much lower death toll, saying that 16 were killed in the shootout. The ministry put the number of the casualties among the militants at 15.
An official statement issued on October 21 said the incident would be investigated, suggesting that the heavy death toll may have been partially caused by incompetence, intelligence failures, or lack of coordination.
Security sources said a convoy of police vehicles were following a lead to a suspected hideout of the Hasm extremist group when they were ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices.
That led to a shoot-out. Hasm later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that 28 members of the security forces were killed, with 32 injured.
Hasm has claimed multiple attacks since 2016 on police, officials, and judges in Cairo.
Egypt accuses Hasm of being the militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this.
Islamist militants have launched several major attacks in Egypt this year, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities and causing the loss of dozens of lives.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and the BBC
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.