EL ARISH, Egypt - Egyptian troops killed as many as six Islamist militants after storming their hideout near the isolated border with Israel on Sunday, security sources and eyewitnesses said.
The troops found the militants in the settlement of al-Goura, about 15 km (10 miles) from the frontier, as they searched for jihadists who killed 16 Egyptian border guards a week ago.The latest clash is part of a security sweep that began on Wednesday and is the biggest military operation in the region since Egypt's 1973 war with Israel. No one has claimed responsibility for killing the border guards.
It is an early test for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, elected in June, to prove he can rein in militants whose campaign on the border worries Israel.
"People in the area supplied information that there was a group of unidentified people staying in a makeshift hut. The area was immediately raided. The group opened fire and the police returned fire," one police source said.
A senior police officer said six people had died in the fighting at al-Goura - three from bullet wounds and three more whose scorched bodies were found in the hut which was burned. Another security source said the death toll was five.