Egypt's news agency: 12 militants killed in western desert

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency says that security forces have killed 12 militants in a shootout in the country's western desert.

The report quoted an unnamed Interior Ministry official as saying that the exchange of fire took place on Friday about 175 kilometers, or 109 miles, southwest of Cairo.

No policemen were reported killed. The area is near the region where 16 policemen were killed a week ago in a brazen ambush by militants.

MENA says that firearms and ammunition were also confiscated from the militants.

After last week's ambush, security officials had told The Associated Press and other media outlets that the death toll was over 50, making it one of the worst attacks against Egypt's police in years. But that higher death toll was never confirmed by authorities.