Security forces found automatic weapons and suicide belts in the hideouts on Saturday [Mohamed Abd el-Ghany/Reuters]

Egypt said on Saturday that 21 fighters were killed in clashes with security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where armed groups have waged a long-running rebellion.

The interior ministry said in a statement that police raided two hideouts of “terrorist elements” in North Sinai governorate, sparking a gun battle in which two officers were also wounded.

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It said the two groups had been planning attacks during the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which started in Egypt on Sunday.

Security forces found automatic weapons and suicide belts in the hideouts.

The military has for years battled the rebellion in the Sinai Peninsula – in Egypt’s

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