CAIRO — Egyptian security forces killed nine “terrorists” in a raid on a cave hideout along the Nile River at dawn on Monday, the Interior Ministry said.
The raid in central Egypt targeted men who were planning attacks on vital installations, resulting in a shootout that led to their deaths, it said in a statement.
The statement did not mention if there were any survivors or if any wounded were taken prisoner, or if security forces suffered any casualties.
It said assault rifles, improvised explosive devices, ammunition and supplies were seized in the operation, in rugged terrain off the road between the city of Assiut, some 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Cairo, and Sohag, another 70 kilometers further south.
Egypt has been battling an insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. It launched a nationwide operation against the militants in February, but raids outside the restive Sinai Peninsula have been rare.
The Ministry said it took legal measures necessary for the raid, and coordinated it with the Supreme State Security Prosecution, a secret court that handles terrorism cases.
It circulated photos of nine bloodied bodies lying around a cave with weapons near them on social media, along with the text of its statement.
Attacks have become rarer on Egypt’s mainland since the start of the nationwide operation. In recent years, Islamic State militants had carried out several large attacks, mainly targeting security forces and the country’s Christian minority, but also a mosque in Sinai in which more than 300 worshippers were killed.
Journalists and independent observers have been barred from the army’s campaign in the most violent area — a northeastern corner of Sinai that brushes up against the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of soldiers have been killed since 2013.