Friday 15 December 2017

Gunmen kill five police near Egypt's oldest pyramid in Giza

The attack took place near some of the country's oldest pyramids in Giza
The attack took place near some of the country's oldest pyramids in Giza

Masked gunmen on a motorcycle have opened fire on a security checkpoint in Egypt, killing five policemen near some of the country's oldest pyramids in Giza, officials said.

The drive-by shooting in the early hours of the morning took place in the village of Abusir in Badrashin, part of Greater Cairo.

The officers were part of the force guarding Saqqara, one of Egypt's most popular tourist sites and host to a collection of temples, tombs and funerary complexes.

The attack took place near the famous Step Pyramid of King Djoser - the oldest of Egypt's more than 90 pyramids and the forerunner of the more familiar straight-sided versions in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo.

Attackers stole the weapons and radios of the victims and tried to set fire to the bodies but fled after seeing people gathering nearby, witnesses said.

Insurgents have carried out a number of attacks in Egypt since the 2013 military removal of elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai peninsula, but attacks have spread in the mainland, including in the capital where suicide bombers have struck churches and security headquarters.

While an Islamic State group affiliate has claimed major attacks, a shadowy group called Hasm, or "Decisiveness" - which the government suspects is linked to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood - has claimed similar drive-by shootings and attacks targeting police, military, judges and pro-government figures.

The Brotherhood won a series of elections in Egypt following the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and Mr Morsi, a senior Brotherhood leader, became Egypt's first freely elected president the following year.

His brief rule proved divisive, and the military overthrew him in 2013. Authorities outlawed the Brotherhood a few months later, declaring it a terrorist group.

Last Friday, IS claimed a stunning attack on a remote Egyptian army outpost in the Sinai peninsula with a suicide car bomb and heavy machine gun fire, killing at least 23 soldiers.

It was the deadliest attack in the region in two years. On the same day, Hasm claimed the fatal shooting of a policeman as he was heading for Friday prayers.

Over the past few days, the government announced killings of members of Hasm in alleged shootouts with security forces.

In previous incidents, families of the suspects challenged authorities' accounts and accused them of illegal detentions, torture and executions.


Press Association

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