CAIRO – Gunmen stormed an Egyptian army checkpoint outside Cairo early Saturday morning and killed six soldiers, including some still in their beds, officials said, in what amounted to an escalation by militants on military targets near the capital.
Just days earlier, masked men opened fire on a busload of military police inside city limits, another rare attack on soldiers this far from the restive Sinai Peninsula, where the army is fighting a counter-insurgency campaign.
Provincial security chief Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Yousri told state news agency MENA that the gunmen also planted explosive devices after Saturday’s attack in Shubra al-Kheima, but bomb disposal experts managed to diffuse two and detonate another in a controlled explosion.
The military blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack, calling the group “terrorists” and saying they had planted the additional bombs to target rescue workers rushing to the scene.
Armed Forces Spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said the attack happened just after morning prayers. The Health Ministry confirmed the death toll.
Series of car bombs kills 19; al-Qaida link considered
BAGHDAD – A series of car bomb attacks targeting commercial areas and a restaurant killed at least 19 people Saturday in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, authorities said.
Police officials said a car bomb went off at night in a commercial street in al-Ameen district in southeastern Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 13. Minutes later, police said another car bomb explosion near a falafel restaurant killed three people and wounded six in the capital’s Qahira neighborhood.
A third car bomb exploded in a commercial street in western Baghdad, killing four persons and wounding 14 others, police said. Later, a car bomb in the northwestern neighborhood of Shula killed four people and wounded nine, police said.
In Baghdad’s northern district of Hurriyah, a car bomb also exploded, killing four people and wounding 10, police said.
Health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of an al-Qaida breakaway group that frequently uses car bombs and suicide attacks to target public areas in their bid to undermine confidence in the government.
Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year. Last year, violence killed 8,868, the highest death toll since the worst of the country’s sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures.
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