EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian military officials say that troops backed by helicopters and armored vehicles have killed eight militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula, part of a continued offensive against rising militancy in the volatile region.

The officials say that the dead included a senior member of an al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

The Wednesday air raids and assaults in the Sheikh Zuweid border town come less than a week after militants in the area shot down a military helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile, killing all its crew and alarming authorities about the use of sophisticated weaponry.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.