At least 18 suspected "terrorists" were killed during a police raid in North Sinai, Egypt's Interior Ministry said Sunday, two days after a deadly blast that a local Islamic State (IS) affiliate claimed.
According to the ministry's statement, the raid in the town of Bir al-Abed was prompted by intelligence pointing at a suspected terrorist cell using a residential house as local headquarters.
"Their hideout was targeted and a firefight ensued which led to the death of 18 [terrorists]," the ministry said, adding that the cell was planning attacks on unspecified targets.
Security forces found 13 automatic weapons, two explosive belts, and three other explosive devices in their possession, the ministry said.
Earlier, on Friday, Egyptian security forces said two more high-profile terrorists were killed during an operation in the restive peninsula.
The raid followed Thursday's blast targeting an armored vehicle near Bir al-Abed, which, according to the Egyptian military, left 10 servicemen "killed or wounded."
The Associated Press cited sources among the security forces as saying 10 soldiers were killed and three wounded in the attack that was subsequently claimed by the Islamic State group.
In February 2018, Egypt's security forces launched a nationwide operation against militants, focused on North Sinai. The campaign included an effective media blackout, with little information coming out of the area.