CAIRO (AP) —
Egyptian helicopter gunships and tanks pounded suspected hideouts of Islamic militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula on Saturday in a major new offensive in the insurgent stronghold, officials said.
The assault came after a long column of armored vehicles and trucks poured into the targeted areas in what residents said was one of the largest operations there in years.
Meanwhile, the country's prosecutor general filed new charges against deposed President Mohammed Morsi of having insulted the country's judiciary.
A security official said "dozens" of insurgent suspects were killed and wounded in the Sinai offensive, which comes two days after a failed suicide bombing targeting the country's top policeman in Cairo. Smoke could be seen rising from the towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid, and troops set up a cordon to prevent militants from escaping as others combed the area, he said.
The northern Sinai, which adjoins Israel and the Gaza Strip, has long been a haven for militants including al-Qaida-inspired groups. Attacks have spiked in the Sinai since Morsi's July 3 ouster, prompting the latest army offensive.