(Reuters) – An Egyptian police officer and a militant were killed during a security operation near Alexandria on Wednesday, and another senior officer died after a bomb blew up his car near Cairo, the Interior Ministry said.
The police and army have been the main targets of a campaign of bombings and shootings since the military deposed president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.
The Interior Ministry said militants had opened fire on security forces as they arrived at their hideout in Borg El Arab, some 45 km (28 miles) south-west of Alexandria during an operation to “detain a number of terrorist elements”.
The police officer killed in the raid was named as First Lieutenant Ahmed Saad and the dead militant as Hassan Abdel Aal, a 25-year old from the Nile Delta province of Dakahlia. A second militant was arrested, it said.
The security forces seized weapons including an explosive belt and two automatic weapons.
The government says it is in a battle with Islamist militants, whose attacks have killed around 500 people since last July, mostly policemen and soldiers.
The police officer killed near Cairo on Wednesday was named as Brigadier General Ahmed Zaki. He died in 6th of October City, 32 km (20 miles) outside Cairo. State media said the bomb was placed under his car and exploded outside his home.
Egypt holds a presidential election in late May, which former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win. Sisi, who deposed Mursi following mass protests against his rule, has vowed to crush the militant threat.
The Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist group by the government in December, has condemned the violence.
Many of the attacks have been claimed by a group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or Supporters of Jerusalem. Another group called Ajnad Misr, Soldiers of Egypt, has also claimed responsibility for attacks.
(Additional reporting by Abdel Rahman Yousef in Alexandria; writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Georgy)