Cairo (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Egyptian police fought gunmen in northern Sinai`s main town of al-Arish on Thursday, state television reported, 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.

It did not identify the gunmen. No further details were available and security officials could not immediately be reached for comment. A Reuters correspondent in al-Arish said the town was now calm after the reported clashes.

The army`s security sweep follows an attack on border guards on Sunday by gunmen who then stormed through an Israeli border crossing. Israel said it was a "wake-up call" for Egypt to take a firmer grip on a region threatened by growing lawlessness.

Egyptian aircraft struck at suspected militant targets near the border and troops raided villages on Wednesday after Sunday`s attack in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed.

The Egyptian army was bringing in extra troops, tanks and other armoured vehicles to al-Arish on Thursday to expand the security operation, a security source said. (M014)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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