About 30 Egyptian policemen have been killed in a shootout with militants in the country’s Western desert.
Security officials revealed the policemen came under fire as they were searching for suspected members of Hasm, a group that has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Egypt during the past year.
The officials said eight other security personnel were wounded in the attack, which took place in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya district, about 135 kilometers southwest of Cairo.
An interior ministry confirmed the attack in a statement but did not give causality figures. It said a number of suspected militants were also killed in the shootout.
There has been no claim of responsibility. Earlier, a false claim of responsibility from Hasm circulated on social media and was reported in various media outlets.
Egypt accuses Hasm of being a militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this.
An Islamist insurgency has grown in Egypt since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
The insurgency, which includes the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but attacks have spread in the mainland, including in the capital where suicide bombers have struck churches and security headquarters.
Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombers struck two churches north of Cairo, killing scores of Christians.