EGYPTIAN army helicopter gunships have fired rockets at several houses where militants are thought to have gathered in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 10 people.

Officials said the raids targeted a house in Sheikh Zuwayed and several others in nearby villages.

The dead reportedly included senior members of the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem.

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The group has claimed responsibility for attacks across Egypt in recent months that have killed dozens of people, mostly from the police and military.

It said it carried out a suicide bombing on a tourist bus in Sinai on Sunday in which three South Koreans and an Egyptian were killed.

That attack, and threats made to tourists visiting Egypt, prompted a change in travel advice by the British Foreign Office, which is now warning against all but essential travel to Sinai, apart from the Sharm el-Sheikh resort.

Militants in northern Sinai have targeted security forces for years, but stepped up their attacks after the July ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.