Ahead of Mass Protests in Cairo

Egypt Army Denies State of Emergency in Sinai, Says It Is 'On Alert'

Move comes after Islamist gunmen attack airport in El Arish; Egypt closes Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

The Egyptian army on Friday denied reports that it has announced a state of emergency in the provinces of South Sinai and Suez, but said it is "on alert" in the area after Islamist gunmen attacked an airport in the Sinai town of El Arish.

Islamist also staged an attack on security forces in northern Sinai and a security official said Friday that Egypt has indefinitely closed the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip following the attacks.

The attacks, the latest of a string of security incidents in the lawless region, came two days after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. It was not clear if the attacks were coordinated and in reaction to his removal.

Egypt was on high alert Friday after the ouster of Morsi and the appointment of Adli Mansour as interim president on Thursday. A coalition of Islamist movements has called for demonstrations in support for Morsi after Friday prayers. The organizers called for non-violent demonstrations, but violent confrontations are feared as tensions are high and after at least 12 demonstrators were killed in clashes across Egypt Thursday.