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Egyptian security forces kill 13 suspected militants in shootout in Sinai

The suspects were killed after they allegedly opened fire on security forces in the North Sinai capital of al-Arish
Members of Egyptian security forces resting on top of an armoured vehicle (AFP)

Egyptian security forces have killed 13 suspected militants in a shootout in al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

In February, the government launched an operation against Islamic State (IS) group militants who have waged attacks on security forces and civilians, killing hundreds, MENA said.

The suspects were killed after opening fire on security forces who approached them in a house under construction in al-Arish, which they used as a hideout, the agency added.

Ammunition, explosives and weapons were found at the scene, the report said. It did not identify the suspects.

The report did not mention any casualties or wounded among the security forces.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the armed forces in November to defeat militants within three months after an attack on a mosque in Sinai killed more than 300 people.

Defeating militants and restoring security after years of unrest has been a promise of Sisi, who was re-elected in March in a landslide victory in elections where he ran unopposed.

Sisi's critics say his presidency has brought about a harsh crackdown on dissent, but supporters say such measures are needed to stabilise Egypt.