File Photo: Egyptian army personnel guard the road just outside Rafah, Egypt (Photo: AP)
Egyptian soldiers have raided the hideouts of suspected Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula, killing two and arresting 37, a military official said.
The raids on Wednesday morning were the latest in a broad military campaign to combat an Islamist insurgency that has surged in the border region following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last summer.
Army troops and police raided several suspected terrorist and criminal hideouts in the North Sinai towns of Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, military spokesman colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement.
Two militant fighters were killed in the attack in Al-Mahdiya village in Sheikh Zuweid while they were monitoring the movement of army and police forces, Ali said.
Thirty-seven others,including fugitives and suspects, were arersted.
Militant groups, which had already expanded their activities in the peninsula since the January 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, have stepped up their attacks since Morsi's removal last July.
Almost 500 people, mostly policemen and soldiers, have been killed in militant attacks, including bombings and shootings. In recent months, the violence has spread to the capital Cairo and the surrounding Nile Delta region.
Air and ground offensives by the military have killed dozens of militants over the past months in one of the military's biggest operations in the region in recent years. Hundreds of others have been arrested and dozens of militant hideouts and arms caches have been destroyed.