A picture taken on October 21, 2017 shows Egyptian security forces’ vehicles and armored personnel carriers parked on the desert road toward the Bahariya oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert, about 135 kilometers southwest of Giza. (By AFP)
The death toll from a firefight between police and militants southwest of the Egyptian capital has risen to 54 policemen.
Security forces, acting on intelligence, raided a militant hideout in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza Province, about 135 kilometers southwest of Cairo late on Friday. But the operation reportedly went awry when the forces fell in what appeared to have been a carefully-planned ambush by the militants.
Details were not clear as to what exactly happened, but officials said the security forces likely ran out of ammunition in the firefight that ensued and that the militants captured several policemen and later killed them.
Other reports suggest that the police convoy was also targeted by rocket fire and explosive devices.
The forces were being led by counter-terrorism officers, and officials said on Saturday that there were two police brigadier generals, a colonel, and 10 lieutenant colonels among the dead.
The Interior Ministry initially put the militants’ casualty count at 15.
This image shows Egyptians carrying the coffin of a police captain during his funeral outside a mosque in Cairo’s western suburb of Sixth of October, on October 21, 2017. (By AFP)
The death toll could increase, officials said.
An initial announcement had put the death toll at 16.
Militants from the so-called Velayat Sinai, a local affiliate of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, are active in the area.
Security forces in Giza have repeatedly come under attack by extremist militants.