Egyptian security forces killed 14 suspected militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula, according to the country’s interior ministry on Sunday.
A ministry statement said the militants were killed in a shootout during a raid on a “terrorist” hotbed planning attacks in the North Sinai city of Arish.
The ministry’s narrative could not be verified from an independent source.
On Thursday, security forces shot dead eight suspected militants in an exchange of fire in Cairo.
Egyptian authorities have stepped up security measures across the country ahead of Christmas, which Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate on Jan. 7.
The Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicenter of a militant insurgency since mid-2013 when Mohamed Morsi — Egypt’s first freely elected president — was ousted in a military coup.
Coptic Christians are estimated to account for roughly 15 percent of Egypt’s overall population of some 104 million.