Grenade attack shatters Cairo calm

2013-10-07 18:09
Egyptian security forces and civilians detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt. (Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk Newspaper/AP)

Egyptian security forces and civilians detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt. (Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk Newspaper/AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Suspected militants killed nine people in attacks in Egypt on Monday, a day after clashes between Islamists and police left dozens dead and dashed hopes of restored calm after president Mohammed Morsi's ousting.

In south Sinai, a car bomb explosion outside provincial police headquarters killed three policemen, the interior ministry said, and gunmen shot dead six soldiers near the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.

The attacks came a day after Islamists, hoping to galvanise their flagging protest movement, clashed with police as they tried to march on a Cairo square steeped in symbolism.

Assailants firing rocket propelled grenades on Monday also damaged a satellite communication dish in Cairo that routes international calls, police said.

At least 51 people were killed the previous day in clashes, mostly in Cairo, in the worst violence in Egypt since mid-August when police dispersed two Islamist protest camps.

Police, joined by civilians opposed to the Islamists, fired tear gas and shots at the protesters when they tried to reach Tahrir Square in central Cairo.

Police say the Islamist protesters used firearms in the clashes.

The renewed violence appeared aimed at frustrating plans by the military-installed government to move ahead three months after Morsi's overthrow by the military.

With its economy propped up by aid from Arab Gulf countries, the interim government has sought to persuade investors and tourists to return to the country.

Since Morsi's overthrow and detention, police have arrested more than 2 000 of his Islamist supporters and the military has sought to quell a wave of militant attacks in north Sinai.

Calm shattered

But following several weeks of relative calm, the violence in the past 48 hours in the capital and south Sinai, which is dotted with tourist resorts, has shattered the appearance of restored security.

The Islamist coalition behind Sunday's protests has called for further protests on Friday to converge on the same square, Tahrir, in central Cairo.

"No one will prevent us from going there, regardless of the sacrifices," the Anti-Coup Alliance said in a statement late on Sunday.

The square, where the military had held celebrations on Sunday to mark 40 years since the Arab-Israeli war, is highly symbolic for both supporters and opponents of Morsi.

Hundreds of thousands of people had filled the square in February 2011 to force president Hosni Mubarak to resign, and again last June and July to urge the army to depose his successor Morsi.

Taking the square, which is guarded by police and military now, would thrust Morsi's Islamist backers back in the spotlight, analysts said.

"There was a lot of pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood to say they are still here and they are a powerful force in society able to mobilise masses," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre.

"I think it's implicit, this idea that there can't be stability without them being part of process, that if you're going to try to push them out that's going to undermine Egypt's economic recovery and any kind of return to normalcy," he said of the Islamists' strategy.

Western efforts at mediation between the military-installed government and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement had failed before the government decided to disperse their Cairo protest camps on 14 August.

More than 1 000 people were killed in the operation and ensuing days of clashes, which also led to an unprecedented crackdown on the Islamists.

No ties to Brotherhood

In her third trip to Egypt last week since Morsi's ouster, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for political "inclusiveness", but appeared intent on reassuring the government of European support.

The Islamists "don't really have many options beyond sustaining protests over a longer period of time," Hamid said.

The government has accused the Brotherhood of involvement in militant attacks in Sinai that have killed dozens of soldiers and police, and attacks on churches across the country.

But the militants, some linked to al-Qaeda, appear to have no ties with the more moderate Brotherhood movement.

The military claims it has killed dozens of militants in an extensive operation in north Sinai.

But Monday's bombing in the south of peninsula showed the militants could still strike, this time about 100km from one of the country's main Red Sea tourist resorts, Sharm el-Sheikh.

A spate of bombings in south Sinai resorts between 2004 and 2006 severely crippled the tourism industry, one of Egypt's main earners.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt crisis

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.