Egypt clash kills 1; bombs on Cairo bridge wound 6

AP News
Posted: Feb 07, 2014 11:26 AM

CAIRO (AP) — Clashes between Egyptian security forces and Islamist protesters left one person dead in a province southwest of Cairo on Friday while two home-made bombs targeting policemen wounded six people in a bridge in the capital, officials said.

Egypt has seen a spike in attacks since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup last July, often targeting security forces. Many have been claimed by a Sinai-based, al-Qaida-inspired militant group.

Meanwhile, pro-Morsi protesters have staged near-daily demonstrations to demand his reinstatement, with the largest rallies usually on Friday or key anniversaries, though their numbers have dwindled in recent months.

The military-backed government has cracked down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood since Morsi's ouster, detaining thousands and designating the group a terrorist organization late last year. It also blames the Brotherhood and its allies for the burgeoning insurgency in Sinai, as well as a string of terror attacks elsewhere in the nation.

In the oasis town of Fayoum, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Cairo, clashes with security forces erupted during a rally Friday by supporters of the Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Hospital officials said one person was shot in the back and died immediately. It was not clear whether he was a demonstrator or a resident of the area.

Earlier Friday, two homemade bombs targeted a police checkpoint on a bridge in the Cairo section of Giza, wounding six people.

The state news agency MENA quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying the explosions hit a truck belonging to the Central Security forces that was stationed on the bridge leading into a major square. A security official said four of the wounded were members of the police.

Shortly after the bombing, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said that "terrorist" attacks will not deter Egyptians from taking "steps toward their future" in a statement carried on MENA.

Amid the increasing attacks, Egypt has seen a heavy security deployment on the streets around main squares and government installations, in anticipation of more violence.

The Brotherhood is also planning a series of marches in the run up to next Tuesday — the third anniversary of the day on which long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak stepped down following the country's 2011 uprising.

There were also other pro-Brotherhood rallies Friday, including in Cairo, the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and in the Suez Canal city of Suez.

In Cairo's eastern district of Nasr City, police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators and chased them into side streets, security officials said. Police also fired tear gas to disperse a large group of protesters in the capital's Ain Shams district, where Morsi's supporters had unsuccessfully tried to set up an encampment last week.

In Suez, troops cordoned off and chased hundreds of protesters who marched in the city's narrow streets, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

The Health Ministry said eight people were wounded in Friday's clashes in Cairo and Fayoum. Fifteen people were arrested, including six who were filming protest marches in Alexandria, footage that was allegedly to be aired on channels affiliated with the Brotherhood, said police Maj. Gen. Nasser el-Abd.

Reporting for Brotherhood-linked networks has become a crime after the group was designated a terrorist organization.

In January, Egypt's chief prosecutor referred 20 journalists including four foreigners from the Al Jazeera TV network, to trial on charges of allegedly joining or assisting a terrorist group and spreading false news that endangers national security. Authorities have long depicted the Qatar-based Al Jazeera as biased toward Morsi and the Brotherhood.