Sinai Peninsula
Sinai PeninsulaFlash 90

Egyptian military airstrikes have killed at least 27 fighters in the northern Sinai region in one of the biggest security operations in the region in months, Al-Jazeera reported on Saturday.

The operation began on Friday, when Apache helicopters targeted fighters belonging to the Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), security sources said.

Hours later, soldiers shot and killed 20 fighters, the sources added, according to Al-Jazeera.

The Egyptian army for months has been waging war against the jihadists in the restive Sinai, and has killed hundreds of terrorists.

Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has declared responsibility for most of the attacks in the area. Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi's ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 

Most recently, the group claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks that killed more than 30 members of the security forces in late January.

The army imposed a curfew on the region  on October 25, following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and which were also claimed by Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.

Following the attack, the government decided to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, explaining the move was necessary because Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai.