CAIRO — Smoke billowed in the sky as Egyptian helicopter gunships rocketed suspected Islamist militant hideouts in the lawless northern Sinai Peninsula for a second day on Sunday, killing 11 suspected fighters as part of the largest military offensive in the region in years, military officials said.
The strikes paved the way for a ground offensive, allowing troops backed by armored vehicles to sweep homes of suspected insurgents. A military official said 11 militants and one soldier were killed in the fighting on Sunday. He said 10 militants had been arrested. A day earlier, two soldiers and nine militants were killed in the offensive.