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Shootout in Egypt kills at least 54 police officers - UPDATED-1


Dozens of Egyptian security personnel died Friday while raiding a suspected Islamist insurgency hideout in the country's western desert. Fifty-four Egyptian police officers have died in the shootout, APA reports quoting sputniknews.

The suspected militants also likely suffered casualties during the raid. Police launched a raid Friday on a militant hideout in the desert El-Wahat area. The source said they had been met with heavy fire from portable anti-tank rocket launchers.

 

The target of the operation was a residence where it was believed eight members of the Hasm Movement were located. Hasm has taken credit for the murders of judges and police officers in the country over the last year, Al Arabiya reports. Cairo alleges that Hasm is a violent branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the brotherhood has denied being linked to Hasm.

 

Earlier reports put the number of police casualties at 30, including 20 special operation personnel.

 

The operation has been completed, according to the source. Police forces are now combing an area within a 25-mile radius.

 

***

 

01:40

 

Dozens of Egyptian security personnel died Friday while raiding a suspected Islamist insurgency hideout in the country's western desert, Reuters reports.

The opposition likely suffered casualties as well during the raid.

 

Egyptian security forces are conducting an operation to search the area where the firefight occurred, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said.  

 

***

 

22:27

 

At least sixteen police officers were killed in a shoot-out during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Egypt’s Western desert, two security sources said on Friday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

 

The sources said authorities were following a lead to an apartment thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and policemen since last year.

 

The number of dead was expected to rise, the sources said.

 

The suspected militants tried to flee after the exchange of fire there, the sources said, and continued to fire at a second security unit called in for backup from atop neighboring buildings.

 

The sources said the suspected militants also used explosive devices in the attack.

 

Two security sources said 8 security personnel were injured in the clashes, while another source said that four of the injured were police officers and four others were suspected militants.

 

Egypt accuses Hasm of being a militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this.

 

An Islamist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula has grown since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.

 

The militant group staging the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen and has started to target other areas, including Egypt’s Christian Copts.

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