Explosion along Cairo thoroughfare kills 6 police officers

December 12, 2016 13:16
Egypt’s state-run news agency says an explosion in Cairo has killed six police officers and wounded three more.

The explosion early Friday targeted security forces on Al Haram Street, known as “Pyramids road,” the main route from downtown to the Giza pyramids, according to the MENA state news agency.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which also injured four civilians, officials said. The state news agency did not say what caused the explosion.

Al Jazeera, citing unnamed security sources, reported that the blast was caused by a bomb placed in a trash can near a police checkpoint.

Militants have carried out multiple attacks in Egypt since the ouster three years ago of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former general Abdel Fattah Sisi. But those attacks have largely been confined to the more remote northern Sinai Peninsula.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the bombing appeared to have targeted two police SUVs parked on the road at a mobile checkpoint, noting the explosion destroyed one of the vehicles and severely damaged the other.

It appeared to be the deadliest attack in Egypt since May, when gunmen opened fire on a bus of plainclothes police officers in the Cairo suburb of Helwan, killing eight. The Islamic State group, which has an affiliate based in the Sinai, claimed responsibility for that attack.

A bomb also struck a police convoy in Cairo in October, killing a civilian nearby.

The explosion came a day after one of the former president’s sons, Osama Morsi, was arrested at his home in the Nile Delta in connection with a 2013 Cairo sit-in protesting his father’s ouster that turned violent as security forces clashed with Morsi supporters, killing about 1,000 and injuring thousands more. The state-run news website Al-Ahram reported that Osama Morsi is accused of inciting violence.

Morsi, 33, is a U.S. citizen, born in Southern California while his father was earning his doctorate in materials science at the University of Southern California and then teaching at Cal State Northridge.

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UPDATES:

3:25 a.m.: This article was updated with background on the arrest of former president Morsi’s son.

2:40 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff copy.

This article was originally published at 2:25 a.m.

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