At least 16 policemen killed in an attack in Western Desert
At least 16 members of the police service were killed in a gunbattle with terrorists in the Western Desert on Friday evening, security forces said in a statement. Two police patrols were ambushed after moving in on a suspected terror hideout southwest of Cairo off the Wahat Road, according to reports. Reuters and the Associated Press are claiming that more than 50 uniformed service members were actually killed, citing security sources. There has been no confirmed information about the affiliation of the attackers, though reports say the hideout was believed to be used by Hasm. At least 15 attackers were killed or wounded in the clash, the Interior Ministry said.
Hasm claimed responsibility for the attack, but the New York Times’ Declan Walsh and Nour Youssef note that the “initial claim … was discounted by militancy experts who questioned its authenticity. There was no other claim.”
Condemnations and condolences came in from every corner of the earth, with the UN, Arab League, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan, Israel, and Turkey all issuing statements.
Friday also saw three policemen killed and eight others injured in a separate shoot-out during a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout in Giza, Reuters reports citing security sources. The raid had targeted suspected members of the Hasm terrorist group.
The State Information Services issued a “strong-worded protest” in response tocoverage of the event from the BBC and Reuters, which claimed that 52 policemen were killed “including 23 officers according to Reuters, and 18 according to BBC.” (Both news agencies subsequently revised the death toll upward in their coverage.) The statement accused them of “intentional manipulation” and reliance on unofficial sources and unconfirmed reports.