The Egyptian Interior Ministry on Saturday said 16 policemen were killed and another went missing in the Friday shootout with terrorists in the desert of Giza province.

The ministry said in a statement that 15 terrorists were either killed or injured in the armed clash, adding that 13 policemen and officers were also injured, Xinhua news agency reported.

Police received information that a group of terrorists were hiding in al-Wahat area in the desert of Giza, before police forces were dispatched to launch a raid.

However, the statement added, terrorists started firing at the security forces with heavy machine guns from all directions as they approached their hideout, causing 12 officers and four police conscripts dead, 13 injured and one missing.

Security forces have managed to kill or injure 15 terrorists, a number of whom were evacuated by other terrorists who escaped the scene of the battle, according to the statement.

A search had been launched to track and hunt the escaping terrorists, the statement added.

The ministry also said the terrorists used the desert area in al-Wahat as a training place and a launching point for the terror acts they carried out across the country.