Egypt said on Saturday that 21 fighters were killed in clashes with security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where armed groups have waged a long-running rebellion.
The interior ministry said in a statement that police raided two hideouts of “terrorist elements” in North Sinai governorate, sparking a gun battle in which two officers were also wounded.
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It said the two groups had been planning attacks during the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which started in Egypt on Sunday.
Security forces found automatic weapons and suicide belts in the hideouts.
The military has for years battled the rebellion in the Sinai Peninsula – in Egypt’s northeast – that is spearheaded by a local affiliate of the armed group ISIL (ISIS).
The fighting intensified after the military’s 2013 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi.
In February 2018, security forces launched a nationwide operation against fighters focused on North Sinai.
About 950 suspects have been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures.