CAIRO (AFP) - The Egyptian military said on Wednesday that 11 "terrorists" have been killed in its campaign against Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsula.
An army statement, read out on state television, contradicted earlier claims of having killed 20 militants in helicopter strikes, in a campaign launched after gunmen killed 16 soldiers in an August 5 attack on an army outpost.
"The armed forces, in cooperation with the police, has arrested 23 people, killed 11 terrorists and wounded one since the start of Operation Eagle," it said of the campaign involving tanks and helicopters.
"The armed forces will continue Operation Eagle to pursue the terrorists and will start on Wednesday morning to redeploy its forces to complete its pursuit of the fugitive terrorists and finish off all terrorist cells in the Sinai."
The August 5 ambush, the latest in a string of militant attacks on soldiers and police in the lawless peninsula, prompted President Mohamed Morsi to sack his intelligence chief and defence minister.
The military campaign is the largest deployment of soldiers in the Sinai, which borders Israel and Gaza, since the Jewish state handed back the peninsula under a 1979 peace treaty that curbed Egypt's military presence in the peninsula.
Since strongman Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in early 2011, Islamist militants, drawn mostly from Sinai's disaffected Bedouin population, have exploited a security vacuum to launch attacks against security forces and Israel.