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July 5, 2013 9:37 am

Egypt Army ‘On Alert’ in Sinai, Suez; Closes Borders

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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The border between Israel and Egypt. Photo: Yonatan Ilan via Wikimedia Commons.

The Egyptian Army was “on alert” on Friday and closed a Sinai border crossing, after forces loyal to former president Muhamed Morsi attacked the El-Arish airport and six police stations in Sinai, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported, citing an unnamed Army spokesman.

The spokesman denied earlier reports in Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper, citing Third Field Army Commander Osama Asakar, that a “state of emergency” was called in response to the overnight attacks.

Israel’s Channel 10 cited the Palestinian News Agency as saying that the Rafah border between Sinai and the Gaza Strip was opened for five minutes Friday morning, then was closed by Egyptian Army forces.

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Channel 10 reported that at least one soldier was killed and four were wounded in a late night rocket attack on a police station in Rafah. The El-Arish airport was attacked with a grenade-launching rocket, it said.

Israel’s Channel 2 said the army was bracing for protests by Morsi supporters today in Northern Sinai, in what the Muslim Brotherhood is calling a “Friday of Resistance.”

In a statement, the Brotherhood said: “National Coalition calls on the Egyptian people to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations after Friday prayers.”

The Daily Star quoted Mohab Mameesh, the director of the Suez Canal Authority, who said the canal was operating normally with no disruption to cargo traffic in this key world trade route. Mameesh said 48 ships had passed through the canal on Friday.

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