In a raid on militant operating areas in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel Monday, the Egyptian military killed 11 militants and destroyed three smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, said army spokesman Mohamed Samir.
Three vans and eight motorbikes, presumably belonging to the militants, were also found and destroyed during the raid.
Tunnels from Gaza to Sinai are common routes for smuggling weapons and all kinds of goods. During the Israeli military's recent assaults on the Gaza territory, which it calls “Operation Protective Edge,” it has destroyed more than 31 “terror tunnels” and the Egyptians have destroyed around 1,639 smuggling tunnels in the past few months.
Monday's raid came as part of a larger crackdown on militants in the region. The Egyptian military has been in almost constant conflict with rebels in the Sinai since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi a year ago. Over the past year, more than 1,000 people have been killed in clashes and thousands more arrested.
"Although still present, terrorism in Egypt is declining compared to last year and it needs some time to be uprooted," the head of the political science department at Suez University, Gamal Salama, told Xinhua News Agency last week.
On Sunday, an 8-year-old boy was killed when a rocket hit his home in northern Sinai. In July, four children were killed when a mortar hit their home. Last week, at least 50 militants were killed in the Sinai after a military checkpoint was attacked.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, an extremist group inspired by but not directly connected to al Qaeda born after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks in Sinai.