Eleven alleged militants were killed in a fire exchange with Egyptian security forces in a mountainous area near El-Farafra oasis in the Western desert, the Ministry of Interior said on Wednesday.
The Ministry elaborated in a statement that the alleged militants were hiding in a remote area, and were planning to carry out “hostile attacks” against the state’s vital aparatuses.
“National Security Apparatus Intelligence and the Ministry of Interior revealed that a number of terrorist elements were hiding in a mountainous area in 60km of Dashlout-Farafra Road in the Western Desert,” read the ministry’s statement.
It added that those militants “were ready to receive some new elements to train them on using weapons and preparing explosive devices.”
Automatic firearms, explosive devices, belts with large amounts of ammunition, as well as documents were confiscated, according to the ministry.
In July 2014, at least 30 soldiers were killed when a heavily armed militant attacked security officers at the Farafra checkpoint on the Farafra-Cairo highway in Wadi Al-Jadid governorate.
Since the fall of Islamist former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Qaeda have intensified their terrorist campaigns against the country’s security forces. They use the Western Desert as hideout as well as a crossing point for militants and weapons from Libya.
Earlier in October, the Libyan National Army in Derna arrested the most wanted militant and former army officer, Hisham Al-Ashmawy.
Al-Ashmawy is the leader of the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group, Al-Murabiteen, and has links to other militant groups, including Jund Al-Islam, and Ansar Al-Islam.
Al-Ashmawy, who left Egypt nearly four years ago, was accused by Egyptian authorities of being behind the most dangerous terrorist attacks in Egypt in recent years, including the assassination of Egypt’s public prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, and the Farafra checkpoint attack.