Egypt says 15 militants killed in North Sinai, Alexandria

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Egypt's security forces killed 15 militants, 12 of them in airstrikes in the restive Sinai peninsula and three in the coastal city of Alexandria, according to two separate statements by the Interior Ministry and the armed forces on Tuesday.

The armed forces said the strikes in North Sinai also destroyed four vehicles as it targeted a "terrorist stronghold" of the local Islamic State affiliate, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

In a separate development, Egypt's Interior Ministry said it killed the three other militants, belonging to a shadowy group calling itself the Hasm Movement, in an apartment raid in Alexandria. The ministry added that they were killed in an exchange of fire.

The militant group, which is suspected of links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, claimed responsibility for a deadly roadside bombing earlier this week, in the Egyptian capital's upscale suburb of Maadi, killing one police officer and wounding four others. The group has previously claimed several smaller attacks, mainly targeting policemen.

Insurgent attacks have dramatically increased in Egypt since the military ouster of elected President Mohammed Morsi, ending the Islamist leader's divisive, one-year rule. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic State-linked militants are battling the army.