Egypt's Sinai: Militants reportedly killed by rocket attack



Members of the Egyptian security forces take position during an operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012.

Egypt pushed back against Islamists on several fronts on Tuesday.

At least eight militants were killed by Egyptian forces in helicopter strikes on the Sinai Peninsula, according to the Associated Press

One military official told the AP the death toll could climb to 13. Fifteen were reported wounded.

The airstrikes targeted suspected militant strongholds in Sinai, areas Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiya described as "four Islamist positions" south of the Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

Reuters said the helicopters hit villages south of a main town on the Israel-Gaza border. Egypt's Ahram Online said they included Al-Thoma, Al-Mahdeya and Al-Moqata'a.

Egypt has increased its presence in Sinai in recent months in response to concerns about growing militancy there.  

Violence in the largely lawless region has increased following the ousting of former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi two months ago.

There was an attack on ships passing through the Suez Canal just last week, said Reuters.

Also on Tuesday, an Egyptian court ordered four television channels seen to be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood to shut down. The channels are Al-Jazeera's Mubashir Misr outlet, the Brotherhood's own station Ahrar 25 and two other Islamist channels, Al-Quds and Al-Yarmuk.

On Monday, Egypt kicked three foreign journalists working for Al-Jazeera's English language channel out of the country. Two Al-Jazeera journalists detained earlier remain in Egyptian custody.

More from GlobalPost: Egypt will take steps to ban Al Jazeera broadcasts, ministers say

Meanwhile, an Egyptian military court sentenced 11 Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison for fighting the army in Suez last month, during unrest that followed a military crackdown against Morsi supporters. Another 45 Brotherhood members received five-year jail terms for their part in the Suez violence.

On Monday, Egyptian authorities said they had arrested two members of the Al Qaeda-linked Mujahideen Shura Council, said the AP