4 Egyptian policemen killed in drive-by shooting near Cairo

Security official says masked gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on checkpoint near the 4,600-year-old Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid at Saqqara (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Charlesjsharp)
The Step Pyramid at Saqqara (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Charlesjsharp)

Masked gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead four Egyptian policemen south of Cairo on Saturday, the interior ministry said.

The gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle, killing those inside, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Khaled Shalaby said the attack occurred at a security checkpoint near Saqqara, home to the 4,600-year-old Step Pyramid.

The attackers’ affiliation was not immediately clear.

Islamist militants have killed scores of policemen and soldiers, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Attacks have also targeted policemen and government buildings in the capital, several of them claimed by an Islamic State group affiliate.

The extremists often claim that their attacks are retaliation for a police crackdown on Islamist protesters, which has killed hundreds and left thousands in prison since Morsi’s overthrow.

The Egyptian military has struggled to quell the IS jihadists in Sinai, who claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian passenger plane on October 31 over the peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

But the militants have suffered more losses in Cairo, with police repeatedly killing or arresting cells in the capital.

The interior ministry announced earlier this month the killing of a top IS operative in Cairo suspected of involvement in the abduction and execution of a Croatian oil worker, and the bombing of the Italian consulate.

Ashraf Ali Ali Hassanein al-Gharabli died in a hail of bullets after he opened fire on policemen who tried to arrest him in the north of the capital, the ministry had said.

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