A group of armed men on Sunday morning blocked the entrances of a factory belonging to the Nasr salt factory, located in the eastern part of the city of Al-Arish not far from the border with Israel. According to Egypt's official news agency MENA, the move has brought production at the factory to a halt.
The armed men, who reportedly all belong to the same family, claim that the factory sits on their land and are therefore demanding financial compensation and official permission to extract salt from nearby salt ponds, MENA has reported.
Despite claims by security sources that the armed men had opened fire on buses transporting factory workers, no injuries have been reported.
Factory officials, meanwhile, were not available to comment on the incident.
The state-owned Nasr Salt Company is one of the largest salt producers in Egypt and the Middle East, with factories in both Alexandria and Al-Arish. The company is a subsidiary of the Holding Company for Chemical Industries, which is overseen by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment.
The factory in Al-Arish boasts a production capacity of almost two million tonnes of salt per year, and is considered one of the few major employers in the North Sinai region, with most of its employees being drawn from the city of Al-Arish.