Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian troops on Sunday killed 11 militant fighters in shoot-outs in the border Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamist insurgency is burgeoning, the army said on Monday.
On Sunday, a six-year-old child was killed and four others wounded when a mortar shell smashed into their home in a village in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, Aswat Masriya reported.The attack apparently targeted soldiers and police fighting with suspected militants in the area.
Egypt has been hit by an upsurge in Islamist militancy led by Sinai-based fighters that has mainly targeted security forces since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer and an ensuing crackdown on his supporters. Militants have also struck Cairo and the Nile Delta with bombings and shootings.
Egypt's military has launched large-scale operations in the underdeveloped region to quell the militants whose attacks have also led to civilian casualties.
At least five children were killed in two North Sinai towns last week in rocket attacks at their homes.
The extensive offensive involves the destruction of a network of smuggling tunnels connecting Sinai with the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Three more passages were destroyed on Sunday, adding to over 1,640 tunnels the army said last week it had laid waste to.