3 Egyptian policemen killed as unrest continues

Russian intelligence head visits Cairo; security forces fire tear gas at pro-Morsi student protest.

By REUTERS
October 29, 2013 11:38
2 minute read.
AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY students shout slogans against the military and the Interior Ministry

Egyptian protesters clash with police. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Three Egyptian policemen were killed on Monday when masked men attacked a checkpoint in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, security sources said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Al-Qaida-linked Islamists have stepped up attacks on soldiers and police since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. The majority of the attacks have been carried out in the largely lawless Sinai region, although terrorists have on occasion extended their campaign into major cities.

Three men in a car and one on a motorcycle approached the checkpoint before dawn and fired at the policemen “to make sure that they were dead,” a security source in Mansoura said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“This is another attack in the series of terrorist attacks against the police,” he said, saying the violence shows the intent of “revenge” against the security forces. He did not specify who had carried out the attack.

Meanwhile, the head of Russian intelligence arrived in Cairo on Monday in order to increase cooperation between the two countries, according to a report in the Al-Ahram Gate website.

This comes after relations between Egypt and the US have cooled, and Egypt is looking for other powers to support it.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi dismissed the possibility of the army gaining more political power in the country as speculation grows that army chief Gen.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will run in next year’s presidential elections.

Following the military coup of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, the army has solidified its rule amidst a rise in popularity.

“One of the main gains of the January 2011 Revolution was ending the concept of the military state. Not just because the people do not want it, but because the army itself realized a military state harms it,” Beblawi said in a TV interview on Sky News Arabia as reported by Ahram Online.

Beblawi also said there was nothing to reports about talks between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government.

Also on Monday, security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of students protesting against the military installed government at Cairo’s al-Azhar university, a week before Morsi is due to face trial.

The detained former president is expected to go on trial next Monday on charges of inciting murder.

His supporters have called for mass protests on that day, raising the prospect of more violence as Egypt’s political crisis continues.

The students chanted “down with military rule” before the security forces moved in to break up the protest.

Repeated student demonstrations demanding Morsi’s return are a delicate matter for the authorities because the administration at al-Azhar, the ancient seat of Sunni Islam learning, has historically toed the government line.

Monday’s protest, like several this month, took place near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, where security forces dispersed a large pro- Morsi protest camp on August 14, killing hundreds.

Thousands of Islamist supporters and leaders of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood have also been jailed since his overthrow and the movement has been banned.

Morsi’s supporters say his removal was a coup against a freely elected leader. The army says it was responding to the will of the people, who had taken to the streets to protest against his rule.

Interim President Adly Mansour was quoted by the state news agency as saying in a meeting with Sisi and the interior minister that “imposing security was the main priority at this important stage.”


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