CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian security forces backed by armored vehicles and helicopters on Monday stormed a town south of Cairo that had been held for over two months by militants loyal to the ousted Islamist president, swiftly taking control despite some resistance from gunmen.

The pre-dawn operation to retake Dalga in Minya province highlighted the resolve of the military-backed government to pursue Islamic militants behind a wave of violence in several parts of the country following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in a popularly backed July 3 military coup. Minya in particular suffered a collapse of security, with militants torching and looting courthouses, churches, local government buildings and police stations.

Army troops are also going after militants in the strategic Sinai Peninsula where attacks on security forces have grown more frequent, and deadlier, since Morsi’s ouster.

Dalga, some 190 miles south of Cairo, attracted nationwide attention because militants there threw out the local police force and took over the town after Morsi’s ouster. Supporters of the deposed president have been touting Dalga as a place where opposition to the coup is universal. The pro-government media, however, has been urging authorities to assert its authority and rid the town of “terrorists.”

Egyptian security forces storm southern town