Egyptian army troops backed by helicopter gunships have attacked hideouts of Islamic militants in Sinai, killing nine and arresting 10, a military official says.
The official’s account on Tuesday raises the death toll among suspected militants to 29 since the start of a major military offensive in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday.
The official says explosives material, weapons and ammunition were found on Monday in the villages of el-Mahdiya and Naga Shabana, south of the town of Rafah near the border with Gaza.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The Egyptian offensive is trying to eliminate several al-Qaeda-inspired groups, which have taken hold in the villages in the lawless region.
Before the military offensive in the Sinai peninsula, militants attack in the area was rife, with men of the army usually the victim.