Troops backed by tanks and other armored vehicles have moved into the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 10 insurgents, Egyptian officials said.

The officials claimed that at least “10 Islamist fighters” were killed, 20 wounded, and 15 arrested in the helicopter attacks and ground operations against insurgent strongholds.

Earlier, an Egyptian official said the army will “clean” areas around the towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid on the border with the Gaza Strip, as well as the nearby village of al-Qurea and al-Dhahir.

A witness says the column of tanks, trucks carrying infantry, rocket launchers, and other military vehicleappears to be one of the largest deployments in recent years.

Attacks by Islamists and Bedouins in Sinai have escalated since the July 3 coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

In August, 25 police were executed near the town of Rafah.

(Featured Photo: Egyptian Forces in the Sinai, August 2012)