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Sheetal Sukhija - Wednesday 1st August, 2018

CAIRO, Egypt - The Egyptian Interior Ministry has revealed that the country’s security forces engaged in gun battle with suspected militants in Qalyubiya province on Tuesday.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement, “Egyptian security forces killed five suspected militants in a shootout in Qalyubiya province, north of Cairo.”

The Ministry added that the militants killed in the attack were all members of the Hasm group, that has launched several attacks on security forces in the country.

The Hasm group, which was formed in 2016, is accused by Egypt of being a militant wing of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Heis accused of being a militant wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, even though the Brotherhood has denied the accusations.

The Hasm group too has denied any links with the Brotherhood, but has often claimed attacks against security forces in statements released by the group.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s Interior Ministry also alleged in its statement that the militants that were killed during the police raid at their hideout in Qalyubiya province were Hasm members, who had been instructed to conduct "terrorist operations aimed at destabilizing the country" by movement leaders abroad.

It added that the militants were involved in carrying out several terrorist operations including the murder of a police officer and the assassination attempt of Alexandria security chief.

The Ministry also released details of a second attack, in which five more suspected militants had been arrested by the police. 

It said that the five other suspected militants were arrested during a separate raid in the al-Salam neighbourhood in Cairo.

The Ministry further, added that the police had conducted a third operation, in which they had confiscated weapon.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the campaign to overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi following mass anti-government protests in 2013 - bloodshed in the Sinai has worsened.

Since then militants have mostly targeted security forces in their attacks, and thea

Yet, since then, hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians have been killed, mostly in attacks carried out by the Sinai Province group.

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