Six Egyptian border guards were killed Thursday morning in a shootout with smugglers in the desert near Egypt's western border with Libya, the army said in a statement.
A group of armed smugglers opened fire on border guards on patrol, killing two officers and four conscripts before fleeing westward.
A number of smugglers were also killed or injured, the statement added without providing further details.
Military ground and air forces were dispatched to comb the area for the suspects.
A security source told Al-Ahram Arabic website that the incident took place in the El-Farafra Oasis, an area notorious for smuggling activity.
The bodies of those killed have been transferred to Cairo, Al-Ahram added.