The Egyptian army has not declared a state of emergency in South Sinai and Suez provinces, a spokesman said on Friday (July 5), denying a report by state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The spokesman said the army in the Sinai peninsula was "on alert". 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 attack, the latest of a string of security incidents in the lawless region, came two days after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. It was not clear if the attacks were coordinated and in reaction to his removal.

The attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at the army checkpoints outside the airport, close to the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Islamist militant groups have expanded into a security vacuum in Sinai that the state has struggled to fill since Hosni Mubarak was swept from power in 2011.

The groups have attacked targets in North Sinai and launched raids into Israel.

Presented by Adam Justice