CAIRO (AP) — Militants in Egypt’s northern Sinai shot and killed four conscripts returning from holidays to their duty station Saturday, hours after two homemade bombs killed a teenager and her mother in a construction site near Cairo, security officials said.
The officials said the militants intercepted a small passenger bus near the northern Sinai town of Rafah, asked its passengers to get out before identifying the four conscripts and shooting them. The conscripts were dressed in civilian clothes, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters as the investigation continued. The militants fled the scene.
Egypt has seen a series of attacks mainly targeting security forces since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July. The Foreign Ministry says nearly 250 police have been killed in attacks since security forces violently dispersed a mass sit-in by Morsi supporters last August, leaving hundreds dead.
Security forces feared that with the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s removal nearing, there would be a spike in attacks. An al-Qaida inspired group has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks in the past year, saying they were revenge for the security crackdown on Morsi supporters.
The government however insists that Morsi’s group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is behind the violence, presenting little concrete evidence of the connection except confessions. The Brotherhood denies the allegations.
The explosion outside of Cairo tore through a government telecommunications building under construction in 6 October district, a security official said. The 15-year-old girl’s mother, who is the wife of the building guard, was wounded in the blast and died later.
The governor of Giza, which includes 6 October, told the private CBC channel that the explosion damaged a mobile communication tower, cutting off access for 800 clients.
Investigators said two bombs were placed under the three-story building and detonated with a mobile device, according to the Giza prosecutor’s office.
In a separate incident, gunmen shot and killed two civilians late Friday in the town of el-Arish in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. A security official said the assailants opened fire outside a police officer’s home as he was escorting two repairmen outside the front door. The police officer was unharmed.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
On Wednesday, four small explosions went off in subway stations and outside a court building in Cairo, wounding three people and marking the first attacks since the election of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief who led last year’s ouster of Morsi.
Also on Saturday, a judicial disciplinary council forced former top prosecutor Talaat Abdullah into retirement after accusing him of spying and installing surveillance devices in what was then his office. Morsi had appointed Abdullah in November 2012 during the height of a prolonged standoff with the judiciary, which protested the move, saying only it had the right to fill the post.
The current chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, was appointed in July, right after Morsi’s ouster.
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