Bomb kills six during Cairo police raid

An Egyptian policewoman directs a woman at a polling site on the first day of voting in the country's constitutional referendum in Cairo. (Maya Alleruzzo, AP)
An Egyptian policewoman directs a woman at a polling site on the first day of voting in the country's constitutional referendum in Cairo. (Maya Alleruzzo, AP)

Cairo - A bomb blast killed six people, including three Egyptian policemen, as a team of officers on Thursday raided an apartment in Cairo suspected to be a militant hideout, police said.

The explosion in the capital's Al-Haram district, near the pyramids, came ahead of next week's anniversary of the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

"Six people have been killed in the blast, including three policemen. The others include a civilian and two unidentified men," a police officer told AFP.

Fifteen other people were wounded.

Security officials said the impact of the explosion damaged part of the residential building housing the apartment.

The neighbourhood of Al-Haram has witnessed several attacks and gunfights since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

It is known to house many sympathisers of Morsi and used to be a regular venue for clashes between his supporters and security forces in the aftermath of his ouster by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The district also houses several hotels used by tourists visiting Cairo because of its proximity to the pyramids.

Militants have regularly attacked policemen and soldiers since the army toppled Morsi.

ISIS

The Cairo bombing comes after gunmen killed five policemen late on Wednesday when they attacked a checkpoint in the North Sinai town of El-Arish.

The Islamic State jihadist group's Egyptian affiliate, the Sinai Province, claimed that attack.

The Sinai Province is spearheading an insurgency against security forces in the region, and has carried out deadly attacks in North Sinai as well as in other cities including Cairo.

Jihadists say their attacks are in retaliation for a brutal government crackdown targeting Morsi's supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands imprisoned.

Morsi was Egypt's first freely elected president and succeeded Mubarak, who was driven from power after an 18-day popular uprising.

On Monday, Egypt marks the fifth anniversary of the anti-Mubarak revolt, and Sisi has warned against any form of demonstration on that day.

Morsi's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, now blacklisted as a terrorist organisation, has called for protests throughout January.

But its ability to mobilise supporters has diminished amid the blistering government crackdown that has seen several of its top leaders jailed and some sentenced to death and lengthy prison terms.

The interior ministry too has warned against any "chaos" on Monday, and has boosted security across Egypt, including around the capital's iconic Tahrir Square -- epicentre of the anti-Mubarak revolt.

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