Troops on Monday stormed a central Egyptian town held for over a month by hardline supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who had launched a campaign against Christian residents, officials said.
Soldiers and police entered the town of Delga in the central Minya province just after dawn, searching homes and arresting several Islamists, a security official told AFP.
All 32 entrances to the village were shut and a daytime curfew imposed as authorities recaptured the town of 120,000 people, held for 31 days by Morsi loyalists, according to the official MENA news agency.
Officials said Islamists controlling the town were behind several attacks on churches around the Minya province.
The raid on the town comes amid a massive crackdown on Islamists following the military's ouster of president Morsi on July 3, which plunged the country deeper into turmoil.
In mid-August police and soldiers broke up two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in an operation that killed hundreds.
The transition plan set up by the army-backed interim government stipulates fresh parliamentary elections and a presidential vote by mid-2014.