ISMAILIA, Egypt :Egypt launched air strikes in North Sinai on Saturday, killing 12 militants, security sources said, and the Egyptian president visited the restive province where the bloodiest fighting in years erupted earlier this week.
The sources said the air strikes hit militant targets near Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai province, killing 12 militants and destroying weapons and explosives caches.
The sources also said that border security forces had found about half a tonne of explosives in a tunnel on the border between Egypt and Gaza.
North Sinai has been the epicentre of an insurgency in Egypt where an Islamic State-affiliated group, Sinai Province, is most active. The Peninsula borders the Gaza Strip, Israel and the Suez Canal.
The insurgency, aimed at toppling the Cairo government, has intensified since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule in 2013.
The army said on Wednesday that at least 100 militants and 17 soldiers had been killed in the fighting. The army has since launched further strikes on militants.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited North Sinai on Saturday to inspect soldiers and police, the presidency said in statement.
Sisi saluted the “heroes of the armed forces for the sacrifices they’ve made for the great people of Egypt,” said a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the military spokesman.
On Friday, Sinai Province said in a statement posted on Twitter by supporters that it had launched three Grad rockets towards “occupied Palestine”. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the statement.
An Israeli military source said the rockets, which landed in Israel without causing any casualties, had been fired from Sinai.