Sinai security forces
Soldiers in a convoy secure a military funeral ceremony of security personnel killed in attacks in Sinai in JanuaryReuters

Egypt's military has killed 27 Islamist militants in a series of air strikes on Friday 6 February.

Cairo ordered helicopter air raids on militants based in the Egyptian desert, after the rebels claimed responsibility for attacks against Egyptian security forces last month, Reuters reported.

More than 30 security officials were killed in the attacks, prompting Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare a long, tough battle against the militants, who call themselves Sinai Province.

The Sinai rebels have pledged allegiance to Isis, a militant group that has seized vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared the creation of a new state.

The group has also said it wants to create an Islamic state within Egypt's border, although it has suffered big losses to its numbers amid a tough crackdown from the security forces.

Since assuming power in 2014, Sisi has cracked down hard on Islamism in many forms. He outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and has stepped up the military effort against the Sinai rebels, who have lost ground in recent months.