Egyptian security forces killed seven militants believed to be with the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al- Maqdis group, the Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim told a press conference on Sunday.
Ibrahim said police intelligence indicated that militants were taking shelter in Al-Galala Mountain in Suez, a base from which they plotted and launched attacks against security forces. After heavy shootout with the armed extremists, security forces terminated all seven members and later identified them via DNA tests, he added.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqis rose to prominence after former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013 amid mass protests that demanded his removal. The al-Qaida- inspired group has claimed responsibility for various deadly attacks against army and police forces. In response, the Egyptian forces have been carrying out a massive offensive in Northern Sinai that has so far resulted in the killing and capturing of hundreds of extremists.
Ibrahim said the militant group is mainly active in Northern Sinai, Greater Cairo and the Nile Delta, pledging to "capture the remnants of this group in the period ahead."
Meanwhile, the minister said there was no presence of the notorious Islamic State (IS) in Egypt. "Those recently arrested in the country are only ideologically-linked to the IS," he added.
Egypt has expressed support for the U.S.-led coalition against the IS, a Sunni extremist group that is now occupying a big part of the land in Iraq and Syria.
However, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has called on the coalition to combat all terrorist extremists in the region, not only the IS. He made these comments during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo on Saturday, according to the official Ahramonline website.
Kerry said that Egypt, as a central capital for the region, had an important role to play in the war against the IS, through its moderate religious institutions such as al-Azhar, the most revered religious school for Sunni Islam in the world.