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14 militants killed in shootout with police in Ismailia, near Sinai: Interior Ministry

Security forces reportedly killed 14 militants in a shootout as they raided a training camp in Ismailia governorate near Sinai, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“As part of ministry efforts to trace runaway militants involved in recent attacks in North Sinai that target both Armed Forces and police forces, we have received intelligence that North Sinai militants are preparing new recruits from all over the country in a training camp in Ismailia,” the Interior Ministry statement read.

Five of the deceased were identified by the Interior Ministry as: 38-year-old Mohamed Habib from Qalyubiyah, 32-year-old worker Tarek Abdallah from Giza, 22-year-old worker Mohamed al-Aziz from Fayoum, 25-year-old house guard Khaled Hussein from Daqahliyah and 16-year-old perfume seller Ali Mostafa from Cairo.

The North Sinai city of Rafah saw one of the deadliest attacks in the early hours of Friday morning, which targeted Armed Forces checkpoints, reportedly killing at least 23 soldiers and injuring dozens of others. The attack, claimed by the Islamic State, was immediately followed by military airstrikes that killed at least 40 militants, according to a statement by the Armed Forces spokesperson.

North Sinai has seen an increase in militant attacks targeting both police and Armed Forces since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, many of which have been claimed by the Islamic State and its affiliate the Province of Sinai.

The largest-scale attack took place in mid-2015, when the Province of Sinai targeted several military sites and checkpoints in the North Sinai cities of Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah. At least 17 soldiers and an estimated 100 militants were killed in the attacks and ensuing violence, according to the military, while other sources claimed a much higher death toll.