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Explosion along Cairo thoroughfare kills 6 police officers

Cairo explosion
An Egyptian explosives expert takes note of damage to a police vehicle following an explosion in Cairo on Dec. 9.
(Amr Nabil / Associated Press)

An Egyptian Islamic extremist group claimed responsibility Friday for an explosion in Cairo that killed six police officers and wounded three more.

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

The Hasm Movement posted a statement online saying it carried out the attack, in which four civilians also were injured. The state news agency did not say what caused the explosion.

“And we stress to the militias of the military occupation that martyrs’ blood will never go to waste, for they are the fuel to our revolution and the torches that illuminate our path of resistance and a curse that hunts their killers, and by God, we shall have revenge,” the statement said. “By God, we shall have revenge — if after time — for there will be no safety or security for you as long as we carry our weapons in jihad for God, either victors or martyrs.”

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

The Hasm Movement, which has links to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, has claimed responsibility for several attacks around Cairo in recent months, including the assassination of a police officer and the attempted killing of a senior prosecutor.

On Tuesday, security forces killed three gunmen in what authorities said was a raid on a hideout in southern Egypt used by an armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A military coup ousted Muslim Brotherhood leader and President Mohamed Morsi three years ago. Since then, hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed in attacks by several armed groups across Egypt, mainly to the north in the Sinai Peninsula, and tourism has suffered.

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

It was the deadliest attack in Egypt since May, when gunmen opened fire on a bus of plainclothes police 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 nearby civilian.

The explosion comes 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 protest 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.

The younger Morsi, a 33-year-old lawyer and U.S. citizen, was born in Southern California while his father was earning his doctorate in materials science at USC and then teaching at Cal State Northridge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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UPDATES:

7:25 a.m.: This article has been updated with a statement from the group claiming responsibility for the attack.

6:35 a.m.: This article has been updated to identify a group that has claimed responsibility for the explosion and to provide additional details and background.

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

2:40 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with staff reporting.

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


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