Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai (Photo: AP)
The Egyptian army said on Wednesday it killed two militants in an air offensive in Sinai and destroyed two homes it said belonged to other “dangerous” militants.
Attacks targeting police and military in the Sinai Peninsula have become commonplace since the army ousted former president Mohamed Morsi in July amid nationwide protests.
Army planes destroyed a home owned by "one of the most dangerous" militants in North Sinai, and believed to have been used for "harbouring militants and storing weaponry and explosives," military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said.
The bombing occurred south of Sheikh Zuwayed, causing a "massive explosion" due to the large quantities of explosives and weapons housed in the building, Ali said.
Troops also shelled another home owned by a suspected militant connected with a recent missile attack that downed a military helicopter in the peninsula, killing five soldiers.
The Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group, which has claimed responsibility for most of the deadly militant attacks across the country, said its fighters shot down the helicopter.
Two other suspect Jihadists were killed during the air bombing raid targeting militant hideouts in the region, the spokesman added.
Egypt's army has brought in troops and armour into the restive peninsula, which adjoins Israel and the Gaza Strip, to flush out militants who have stepped up deadly attacks on police and soldiers since Morsi's overthrow.
The government has mounted a sustained crackdown on Morsi's Brotherhood, which it designated a terrorist organisation, in which hundreds of Islamists have been killed and thousands others jailed, including Morsi.
A series of deadly bombings targeting police Cairo last week–also claimed by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis–has heightened fears that militant violence is taking hold outside Sinai.