Eight “terrorist elements”, including a leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were killed in a gunfight with security forces in southern Egypt, Egypt's Interior Ministry announced Monday, APA rpeorts quoting Anadolu Agency.
"We received intelligence that Hilmi Muharib, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, along with a number of unidentified elements, was hiding out in Upper [i.e., southern] Egypt where they were preparing to attack state institutions," the ministry said in a statement.
“Security forces rushed to the area with a view to arresting them, but were met by heavy gunfire,” it added.
Muharib, along with “seven other terrorists”, was killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, the ministry alleged.
The embattled Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, has yet to comment on the ministry’s assertions.
Once Egypt’s best organized political group, the Brotherhood has remained the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since Mohamed Morsi -- the country’s first freely-elected president and a Brotherhood leader -- was ousted and imprisoned in a 2013 military coup.
In the almost four years since, international and local rights groups have accused Egypt’s post-coup regime of carrying out numerous extrajudicial killings, many of which have reportedly targeted Brotherhood members.
The Egyptian authorities accuse the Brotherhood of “inciting violence” and have designated the group a "terrorist" organization.
The Brotherhood, however, denies the accusation, saying it is committed to purely peaceful activism.
Since Morsi’s ouster in mid-2013, hundreds of Brotherhood members have been killed by Egyptian security forces and tens of thousands thrown behind bars.