Egyptian security forces kill five suspected militants in shootout

CAIRO - Egyptian security forces have killed five suspected militants who were plotting to carry out unspecified "hostile operations," the interior ministry said on Monday.

The men were killed after they opened fire on security forces who approached them in a mountainous area of the southern province of Assiut, the ministry said in a statement.

The forces found ammunition, weapons and organizational documents at the scene, it said. It did not identify the suspects nor say whether there had been any casualties or wounded among the security forces.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the armed forces last November to defeat Islamist militants within three months after an attack on a mosque in Sinai killed more than 300 people.

Defeating the militants and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of Sisi, who was re-elected in March in a landslide victory against no real opposition.

Sisi's critics accuse him of cracking down on all dissent, but supporters say tough measures are needed to stabilize Egypt, which was rocked by years of unrest after protests toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.