13 militants killed in Western Desert attack

Thirteen militants were killed when security forces targeted a militant hideout between the Assiut Governorate and Kharja Oasis in the Western Desert, announced the Interior Ministry in a statement on Friday.

The security operation comes one week after an armed attack targeting police near the Wahat Road 135 km outside of Giza left 16 conscripts and officers dead, according to the ministry’s published death toll.

In the statement, the Interior Ministry said that it had been working on “getting any information on the whereabouts of these suspected elements, especially regarding possible hideouts in farms located in the deserted areas of Upper Egypt.”

A hideout was attacked after information obtained by national intelligence agencies revealed the location and received permission from state security. The killed militants killed in the raid have yet to be identified.

The statement did not clarify to which organization the militants belonged, and whether they had any connections to the group that carried out the attack last week.

The ministry added that police forces found weapons, explosive belts and devices, as well as organizational documents at the site of the attack.

Meanwhile, a brief report on the Wahat attack was published in Thursday’s issue of the Islamic State’s Al-Nabaa magazine. The report did not include acknowledgement of responsibility for the attack.

Ahmed Kamal al-Behairy, an armed groups researcher at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, published an analysis for Mada Masr claiming that referring to an attack in an Islamist publication affiliated with a militant organization indicates that they are claiming responsibility.

He explained that Al-Nabaa’s previous issues have never reported attacks carried out by any militant groups other than the Islamic State. He expects that no group will claim responsibility for the attack, as it was the result of an operation launched by police forces, and not an attack initiated by the group.

Many theories regarding the group behind the attack arose, linking three suspected organizations to it. A report published by Mada Masr last week identified the Islamic State, Hassm, and Al-Mourabitoun, an organization led by former military officer Hesham Ashmawy, as the three possible groups behind the attack.