7 dead in botched Egypt prison break

Egypt held military funerals Thursday for three policemen killed as they prevented four convicts on death row from escaping a notorious Cairo prison.

The four men convicted to hang on terror charges were shot dead by security forces in the rare escape bid from the heavily-fortified Tora prison complex, the interior ministry said.

It said the three policemen also died in Wednesday’s botched prison bust, without giving the circumstances.

Local press carried reports of families in mourning as military funerals were held for the policemen.

The interior ministry released the names of the four men who tried to escape.

Three of them were sentenced to death for forming militant Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia and carrying out attacks on security forces between 2013 and 2014.

The other, an alleged sympathiser of the Islamic State group, was jailed for stabbing to death a Coptic Christian doctor in Cairo in 2017.

Egypt has been battling a jihadist insurgency in its North Sinai province spearheaded by a local IS affiliate since the 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In February 2018, security forces launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on the restive region in eastern Egypt.

More than 930 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures. (AFP)