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Muslim Brotherhood blamed for attack on Egypt army bus

People walking past a huge banner for Egypt’s army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in front of the High Court of Justice in downtown Cairo, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

People walking past a huge banner for Egypt’s army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in front of the High Court of Justice in downtown Cairo, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Egypt’s army blamed the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood for an attack on an army bus which killed one officer and wounded three others in the capital yes­terday, violence underscoring growing security threats to the military-backed government.

The Muslim Brotherhood strongly condemned the attack in an e-mailed statement, saying the targeting of army soldiers and civilians is a “heinous crime that requires a thorough and trans­parent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

They accused the military-backed government of trying to implicate the Brotherhood in the attack for political reasons.

An army spokesman said in a statement posted on Facebook:

“Masked armed men belonging to the terrorist Brotherhood targeted a bus of the armed forces... which led to the martyrdom of the Warrant Officer Yusri Mahmoud Mohamed Hassan.”

Outlawed group says it is committed to peaceful activism

Islamist militants are expanding their insurgency in Egypt where army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July, is expected to announce he will run for president within days.

The most active group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile attacks on senior security officials, including an assassination attempt on the interior minister last year.

A security crackdown has devastated the Brotherhood, driving Egypt’s most organised political organisation underground.

The Brotherhood, which the interim government declared a terrorist group in December, says it is committed to peaceful activism. Most of its leaders are in prison and it denies carrying out attacks.

Militants based in the Sinai peninsula near the Israeli border are still a major security threat to the Arab world’s biggest nation despite army offensives, including air strikes. They have stepped up attacks on soldiers and policemen since Morsi’s ouster, killing hundreds and spreading their campaign to Cairo and other cities.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on Wednesday arrested two members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo’s request for committing violence in Port Said before fleeing abroad, Egypt’s prosecutor’s office has said.

The arrests are the first reported cases of Egypt’s Gulf allies detaining members of the Islamist group on its behalf. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the Gulf nations that have pumped billions of dollars into Egypt since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July.

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