Middle East

Egypt army officers killed in gunfight with militants

Egyptian security forces inspect a warehouse in Qalyubiya province raided on 19 March 2014
An investigation found the warehouse was being used as a makeshift bomb factory

Two Egyptian army officers and five jihadist militants have been killed in a gunfight that erupted during a raid north of Cairo, officials say.

The brigadier and colonel, both bomb disposal experts, took part in the raid on a warehouse in Qalyubiya province along with police and special forces.

Bombs were detonated during the ensuing battle, which lasted several hours.

Officials said the militants were from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks.

The al-Qaeda-linked group, which is based in the Sinai peninsula, is believed to have killed more than 200 security forces and government personnel since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in July.

Wednesday's raid followed an investigation that showed the warehouse, in a village near the Nile Delta town of al-Qanatir al-Khayriya, was being used as a makeshift bomb factory, officials said, adding that a large quantity of explosives was recovered.

The militant cell based there is suspected of involvement in an attack on a military checkpoint in a northern Cairo suburb on Saturday that left six soldiers dead and the killing of a senior interior ministry official in January.