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At least fifteen militants have reportedly been killed in the Sinai Peninsula in a suspected attack by the Egyptian army.

Security sources claim the strikes were aimed at arms and explosive stores.

The state-run Nile TV says army helicopters targeted militant strongholds in the area – two villages south of Sheikh Zuweid, a town near the border with Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

At the same time, Egyptian security forces have reportedly destroyed dozens of houses along the border with Gaza.

Some local residents fear it is part of an attempt to build a isolating buffer zone.

Egypt’s military has stepped up a campaign against Islamist militants in the area after deposing president Mohamed Mursi and has accused Gaza Palestinians of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The crackdown, before and after Mursi’s ouster, has included closures of tunnels from Gaza the military believes have been used to move weapons, gunmen and goods across the border.

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