CAIRO: Two people were killed as dozens of armed men in cars waving flags with Islamic slogans rampaged through the north Sinai city of Al-Arish on Friday, an Egyptian health ministry official said.
Around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes fired assault rifles into the air, forcing terrified residents into their homes, witnesses told AFP.
“We have two bodies of civilians in the morgue now and 12 police conscripts being treated for injuries in hospital,” Hisham Shiha, a deputy health minister, told state television.
Waving black flags which read “There is no God but Allah,” the men stormed through the city and tried to force their way into a police station but were confronted by policemen and soldiers.
A witness told AFP that the two sides were trading fire outside the police station.
MENA said two people, including an 11-year-old child, were wounded by the gunfire of the armed men.
Earlier, the masked men used a front-end loader to damage a statue of the late president Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by Islamist militants in 1981.
The violence came after a peaceful noon time demonstration in one of the city’s squares, part of country wide protests by Islamists who want any future constitution to assert that Egypt is a Muslim state.