Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has dismissed the country's intelligence chief and the governor of North Sinai following a military operation designed to crack down on suspected Islamic militants in the region Wednesday.

While the operation was described as a success, the intelligence chief, Gen. Mohamed Murad Mowafi, and the governor, Sayyid Abdul Wahab Mabrouk, were criticized over an earlier attack by suspected militants Sunday that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near Egypt's border with Israel.

The move demonstrates a stern assertion of power against the military establishment in the government by Morsi, who had previously been lambasted for not holding the officials accountable for failing to prevent the attack despite having received advanced warning.

Militancy in the Sinai Peninsula has increased following the Egyptian revolution as security in the region has weakened, while militants from the Gaza Strip have also encroached upon the territory.

Morsi, viewed as a conservative Islamic leader, has received some criticism from hardliners within his political base over his handling of the military response to the attacks, which showed his willingness to crack down Islamist groups.