Egypt's army denies report of state of emergency in S. Sinai, Suez

But is 'on alert' after Islamist gunmen attacks in peninsula.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
July 5, 2013 14:19
2 minute read.
Egyptian soldier guards checkpoint in Rafah in Sinai

Egyptian soldier in Sinai 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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CAIRO -Egyptian troops were "on alert" in the Sinai Peninsula, a military spokesman said on Friday, but he denied a report by the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper that a state of emergency had been declared in Suez and South Sinai provinces.

The newspaper's website said that the raised alert levels were a response to an overnight attack by Islamist gunmen on an airport in the Sinai town of El-Arish.



"We were already very prepared in this important strategic region," a military source said. "The announcement is just to assure our soldiers and people that we are ready in Sinai. As for Suez we are always on an alert state there."

The head of the Suez Canal Authority, who oversees the key world trade route, said it was operating normally with no disruption to cargo traffic. Mohab Mameesh said 48 ships had passed through the canal on Friday. 

Al-Ahram had reported that raised alert levels were in response to an overnight attack by Islamist gunmen on an airport in the North Sinai town of El-Arish.

The report quoted the commander of the Third Field Army Osama Asakar saying that the "state of readiness" had been raised to its highest level in the two provinces due to the attack.

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