Egypt's military steps up offensive in Sinai
By ASHRAF SWEILAM
EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) -- An Egyptian army official says the military has stepped up its offensive in northern Sinai after a pause following two stunning suicide car bombings in the strategic peninsula this week.
The official says helicopter gunships targeted suspected Islamic militant hideouts in a dozen villages south of the town of Sheikh Zuweyid and farmlands near the city of el-Arish at sunrise Friday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
A witness who lives nearby says smoke billowed in the sky after loud explosions rocked the area. He spoke of condition of anonymity fearing for his safety.
Meanwhile, a militant group called Jund al-Islam claimed responsibility for Wednesday's suicide attacks that targeted a military intelligence headquarters and a checkpoint, killing six troops.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)