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Egypt says militants planning Eid attacks killed in Sinai

Egyptian police raided two hideouts in Sinai governorate according to interior ministry
Egyptian police inspect cars at a checkpoint in North Sinai (AFP)

Twenty one militants have been killed in clashes with security forces in Sinai, Egypt said on Saturday, after police raided two hideouts of "terrorist elements".

The interior ministry said in a statement that police raided the hideouts in North Sinai governorate - where an Islamic State group-affiliated insurgency has been brewing for years - sparking a gun battle in which two officers were also wounded.

It said the militants had been planning attacks during the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which starts in Egypt on Sunday.

Security forces had found automatic weapons and suicide belts in the hideouts.

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Security forces have been battling a long-running insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, in Egypt's northeast.

The fighting intensified after the military's 2013 ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Mohamed Morsi.

In February 2018, security forces launched a nationwide operation against militants, focused on North Sinai. 

Around 950 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures.