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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-26

A homemade bomb on Thursday exploded near a public bus in the Egyptian capital, blowing out its windows and injuring five people, officials said.

The device had been placed at a busy intersection in Cairo’s Nasr City district and went off just as the bus passed by. One victim was reported to have suffered serious injuries in the attack.

Authorities then found at least one more bomb attached to an advertisement billboard apparently intended to hit security forces who responded to the first, state TV reported.

Police general Mohamed Gamal showed reporters a defused pipe bomb, saying it had been placed in a billboard and was primed to explode when police arrived at the site of the first bombing.

"It was set to go off remotely," interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said.

has seen a wave of attacks blamed on Islamic militants since the July military ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi and the subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group.

The interior ministry said the attack was meant to intimidate voters ahead of a referendum next month on a new constitution, billed as the first step in a democratic transition ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.

The blast comes a day after the government declared the Brotherhood movement a terrorist organization, accusing it of being behind the recent violence. The group has denied the claim, saying the government is just trying to scapegoat it.

On Tuesday, Egypt saw its deadliest bombing yet, when a suicide bomber hit a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, mainly police.

Sinai-based Islamic militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for that attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the “shedding of innocent Muslim blood” at the hands of Egypt’s “apostate regime” -- a reference to the security forces’ crackdown on Islamists following the coup.

Authorities claim there are links between the Sinai jihadists and the more moderate Brotherhood, but have offered no proof.

The drastic decision to list the 85-year-old movement as a terrorist group means their vast grass roots and charity networks will be targeted and seized by the state.

The cabinet had come under increased pressure to declare the movement a terrorist group following Tuesday's bombing.

Morsi's year in power, after the country's first democratic presidential elections, alienated many Egyptians who accused the Islamists of trying to monopolise all branches of government.

Since his ouster, more than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in a police crackdown and thousands imprisoned.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)


Date created : 2013-12-26


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