Egypt's military says its airstrikes have destroyed three vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives, and killed a "large number" of militants in the western desert allegedly involved in a brazen ambush on the country's police earlier this month.

Military spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that Tuesday's airstrikes took place in a mountainous area outside Fayoum province, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Cairo. He said the scene was still being assessed and a casualty count was incomplete.

The attack comes nearly two weeks after authorities announced that at least 16 policemen were killed in an ambush about 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of Cairo.

Tuesday's attack took place in Egypt's western desert, where a previous series of attacks were blamed on Islamic militants coming from Libya.