Egyptian authorities said Saturday dozens of Egyptian police officers and security officials were killed when militants ambushed their convoy.
Security forces told the New York Times that at least 59 police officers and security officers were killed Friday. But in a statement without further explanation, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said 16 officers were killed and 13 injured.
The convoy was heading toward what was believed to be a terrorist camp, about 85 miles from Cairo.
Militants positioned at higher ground swarmed the eight-vehicles convoy with gunfire and rockets, police officials said. Hasm, an Islamist militant group said to be the armed wing of the now-illegal Muslim Brotherhood, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned news website, reported that a former officer in the Egyptian army named Hisham al-Ashmawy led the militants.
The militants seized weapons from the vehicles and executed survivors, an Egyptian official, who wished to be anonymous, told The New York Times. The Egyptian forces were cut off from air support and functioning satellite phones.
In audio, a survivor describes being lost in the desert in the only vehicle that escaped the bombing.
“The guys are behind us, chasing us in their cars,” one officer can be heard saying.
A second officer said: “They took all the weapons and ammunition. We are hiding under a mountain.”
By Allen Cone