Monday 16 October 2017

Car bomber kills Egyptian soldiers

Egyptian army soldiers patrol in an armoured vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai (AP)
Egyptian army soldiers patrol in an armoured vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, northern Sinai (AP)

A suicide car bomber has rammed a bus carrying off-duty soldiers in Egypt's turbulent region of northern Sinai killing 11 and wounding 37.

The soldiers belong to the 2nd Field Army, which is doing most of the fighting against Islamic militants waging an insurgency against security forces in Sinai, were on their way to Cairo.

The northern Sinai region, which borders Gaza and Israel, has been restless for years, but attacks have grown more frequent and deadlier since the July overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

There was no claim of responsibility but suicide car bombings are a signature method of militant groups linked to or inspired by al-Qaida.

It was the latest in a series of similar attacks targeting army and police facilities and checkpoints. In August, gunmen pulled 25 police conscripts off minibuses in the Sinai and shot them dead on the side of the road.

Northern Sinai's violence occasionally has spilled over into cities in the southern part of the peninsula as well as mainland Egypt, targeting policemen, soldiers and politicians.

In September, the interior minister, who is in charge of the police, survived an assassination attempt by a suicide car bomb. Earlier this week, a senior security officer who monitors Islamist groups, including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, was shot dead as he drove in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district.

Nasr City is a Brotherhood stronghold and home to several military barracks.

Meanwhile, clashes late on Tuesday between revolutionary youths opposed to military rule and police killed two people, including a teenager.

The violence in Cairo's Tahrir Square followed day-long protests marking the second anniversary of clashes between protesters and police on an adjacent street. A joint police and army contingent cleared the square of protesters.

Authorities have waged a major crackdown against the Brotherhood, arresting 2,000 top and middle-level members and several thousand followers. Hundreds were killed when security forces cleared two protest camps of Morsi supporters in August.

Mr Morsi, along with the group's top leaders, are in detention and face trials on charges that vary from murder and inciting murder to conspiring with foreign powers and corruption.

Supporters of the former president have staged near-daily protests against the July 3 coup, mostly in universities. The number of protesters, however, has been dwindling, although they occasionally mass several thousand.

-AP

Press Association

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