CAIRO (AP) — A bomb blast near a court building in Cairo killed one policeman and wounded three others on Friday, shortly after two suicide bombers struck in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula in near-simultaneous attacks that killed one soldier and wounded nine people.
Egyptian state TV said the mid-morning explosion in Cairo’s eastern Heliopolis suburb targeted a traffic police post near the court. The state news agency MENA quoted police spokesman Abdel-Fattah Osman as saying that the blast was caused by a homemade bomb planted near the police post and that an explosives team was inspecting the site for more devices.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but Islamic militants have carried out a series of bombings — with both crude devices and more sophisticated ones — in recent months, targeting Egypt’s security forces and the military.
In restive Sinai, two suicide bombers struck shortly after dawn in the town of el-Tor in the southern part of the peninsula. In the first attack, the bomber targeted an army checkpoint, killing one soldier and wounding five, the officials said.
The second bomber stepped out on a road and blew himself up in front of a bus. Four passengers were wounded from that explosion. The bus driver told the Seventh Day online portal that he saw the suicide bomber sitting on the side of the road with an ice box before he blew himself up and uplifted the bus.
The bombers’ body parts littered the sites of the attacks and will be analyzed to determine their identities, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The attacks in Sinai came after a few months’ lull in the peninsula, which witnessed a surge in insurgent attacks following the military’s ouster last July of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The military removed Morsi after millions of Egyptians rallied against his rule, a year after his election, and demanded he step down.
In October, a suicide car bomb attack on the security headquarters in el-Tor killed three policemen and wounded 55. That attack was later claimed by an al-Qaida-inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, which has also claimed responsibility for many of the explosions targeting the military and security forces across Egypt in recent months.
Southern Sinai is famous for its beach resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh and has generally been spared the violence that has plagued the northern part of the peninsula in the past six years. However, attacks in the resorts in 2005 and 2006 left dozens, including tourists, dead.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has said its attacks are in revenge for the killings of protesters, who have been staging near-daily demonstrations demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.
Egypt’s interim, military-backed government has branded the Muslim Brotherhood, a group from which Morsi hails, as a terrorist organization. The Islamist group denies any link to violence and the attacks in the country.
Since last summer, the military has waged a major offensive in northern Sinai in an attempt to drive out the militants.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.