Bomb in Egypt capital kills six police
The attack struck in the western Talibiya neighbourhood of the capital, shortly before the weekly Muslim prayers and when Cairo’s streets are mostly empty.
The bloodied bodies of several policemen could be seen at the blast site next to police vehicles that had been stationed there, an AFP photographer reported.
The Hassam Movement, a militant group which has claimed a string of recent attacks, said it was behind the bombing, in a statement circulated on social media.
Police cordoned off the area with yellow tape as they searched for more explosives.
The interior ministry said in a statement that the bomb exploded next to a checkpoint, killing two officers, a policeman and three conscripts.
Three other conscripts were wounded.
Militants have repeatedly attacked policemen and soldiers since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and unleashed a bloody crackdown on his followers.
Most of the attacks are carried out in the Sinai Peninsula of eastern Egypt by a branch of the Islamic State jihadist group, which has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen.
But militants have also targeted security forces and government officials in the capital.
Most of the Cairo attacks in recent months have been claimed by two little known militant groups, Lawaa al-Thawra as well as the Hassam Movement.
An Egyptian judge in one of the trials of Morsi, who was detained after his ouster, escaped unharmed last month when a car bomb exploded as he drove by.
That attack came days after a roadside bombing targeting a police convoy killed a passerby.
In September, militants set off a car bomb as the country’s deputy state prosecutor was passing. He too escaped unharmed.
Police say Hassam and Lawaa Al-Thawra are affiliated with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was banned months after his overthrow and listed as a terrorist organisation.
The Brotherhood, which espoused grassroots work and change through elections, denies it is involved in violence.
The group had been the country’s largest opposition movement under veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak and dominated polls after his overthrow in 2011.
In 2012, it won a presidential election with its candidate, Morsi, whose divisive rule led to mass protests a year later that prompted the army to overthrow him.
Hundreds of his supporters were killed in protest clashes with police and the army in the following months.
The Brotherhood now operates as an underground and splintered movement, with some followers believed to have embraced attacks against policemen while others insist on non-violence.
Friday’s bombing came days after the interior ministry said police killed three Hassam Movement members in southern Egypt, and weeks after it announced breaking up one of the group’s cells.
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