4 bombings, violent protests hit Egypt with looming polls

4 bombings, violent protests hit Egypt with looming polls
Sat May 3, 2014 20:51:02

Four more bomb blasts and persisting violent protests against the military-installed government have occurred in Egypt with less than four weeks remaining until the Egyptian presidential election in May with only two contenders.

Two separate bombs exploded in Cairo on Friday, killing at least two. The first blast happened at a traffic checkpoint in the Heliopolis district, killing a low-ranking police officer and injuring another security officer as well as three security conscripts.

The second bombing took place late on Friday, when a car exploded on Ramsis Street near a subway station in downtown Cairo.

“A car with no plates exploded, killing its owner. Explosive experts are combing the area to make sure there aren’t any explosive devices,” an Interior Ministry spokesman told state-run news agency MENA.

Before dawn, two suicide bombings occurred in the Sinai Peninsula. In El-Tur, a town on the main road between the capital and a tourist resort, a suicide bomber blew both himself and a soldier up at the Wady El Tor security checkpoint.

The blast also injured three police officers and another soldier, according to local press reports.

The second suicide attack occurred further south on the same road, between el-Tor and Sharm El-Sheikh, reports added, citing Interior Ministry and security sources.

A bomber stepped out on a highway and blew himself up in front of an approaching bus, killing at least one passenger and wounding three others.
Meanwhile, in the port city of Alexandria, clashes broke out during a protest between supporters of military-ousted President Mohammed Morsi of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Party and pro-government elements.

Two people were shot and killed and five others were injured during the violence, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Clashes also broke out south of Cairo in Helwan, where three members of the security forces were injured. Police arrested 27 people in Alexandria, and 15 more were arrested in other anti-government protest rallies around the North African country.

Militant groups were cited in press reports as saying that the attacks were in retaliation for the vicious government crackdown on Morsi’s supporters since the democratically-elected president was deposed in July 2013 by the nation’s US-backed military.

The crackdown has killed hundreds of Morsi’s supporters. However, the army has been waging a campaign against armed militant groups in northern Sinai, including Al-Qaeda-inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising toppled the nation’s US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, campaigning for Egypt’s presidential election began on Saturday. The election is due to be held on May 26-27.

Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, the now-retired army chief who led last summer's overthrow of Morsi, appears poised to win the presidential race building on the military’s influence over the country and by promoting nationalistic fervor.

Al-Sissi is running against longtime opposition politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, a leftist who believes his candidacy is an important stepping stone to democracy. “I believe democracy comes through practice,” he claims.


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