Sinai militants killed in Egypt army offensive

CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian military is continuing its largest offensive in Sinai in years.

Helicopter gunships rocketed suspected Islamic militant hideouts in the lawless northern Sinai Peninsula for a second day on Sunday. Military officials say 11 suspected fighters and one soldier were killed.

They say the assault is intended to drive out al-Qaida inspired groups from several villages of the restive border region, where militants have established strongholds and stockpiled an unprecedented amount of weapons.

Also Sunday, a militant group in northern Sinai allegedly claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on the country’s interior minister last week. In a statement attributed to Ansar Jerusalem posted on militant websites, the Islamic extremist group claimed it was behind the attack on Mohammed Ibrahim.

The brazen bomb attack in Cairo on Thursday killed a civilian bystander and wounded 21 others, including policemen.

The statement says military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (AHB’-del fat-AH’ el-SEE’-see), who led a coup against former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, is another target.

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