Egyptian security forces on Monday stormed a community where supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi had seized control weeks earlier, news reports and officials said.
The Coptic Christian minority in Dalga, about 190 miles south of Cairo, had reported a harsh campaign of intimidation by militants who burned churches and shook them down for protection money. About one-sixth of the town's 120,000 residents are Christians.
In the wake of the dawn offensive, residents told the Associated Press that they were ordered to stay indoors and that entrances into the community were sealed off while security forces conducted house-to-house searches for Islamist militants. Army helicopters hovered overhead.