Egyptian police clashed with armed men in northern Sinai\’s main town al-Arish, state television reported on Thursday, a day after security forces began a crackdown on Islamist militants in the region.
"Clashes resumed between armed men and police forces in front of police station number two in al-Arish," Nile News television reported, citing its correspondent there.
Palestinian news agency Maan reported that Egyptian police officers were taken by surprise when gunmen opened fire at the station from a moving vehicle and escaped the scene. No injuries were reported during the incident.
Meanwhile, Egyptian army forces launched the second day of crackdown against Sinai terrorists. An army official told reporters that a large number of troops in armored vehicles entered the village of al-Toumah, which is considered a terrorist stronghold, overnight Thursday.
Egyptian paper al Youm al Sabaa quoted local security officials as saying that military forces decided to block the smuggling tunnels on the Egyptian side and have already completed all the preparations.
According to the report, the tunnels are removed from population concentrations and from Salah el-Din Gate near the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
Egypt launched on Wednesday the first airstrike on militants in the Sinai region since 1973, killing at least 20 terrorists in an operation described by the Egyptian media as the "Sinai cleansing operation."
According to Egyptian security sources, over 2,000 Islamic militants reside in the Sinai region.
Also on Wednesday al-Ahram reported that the security forces already begun the demolition of the tunnels, but claimed it was not in response to the terror attack, but rather an attempt to stop smuggling, which was detrimental to Egypt\’s national security.