Gunmen renewed attacks on Egypt’s security forces with a fatal shooting in the city of Port Said, a day after a suicide bomber and other militants killed 10 policemen and soldiers in the nation’s latest spasm of violence.
The targeting of security personnel and installations followed the deaths of at least 55 people on Oct. 6 during rallies by Muslim Brotherhood supporters to protest the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi by the army in July, in what was some of the worst violence in weeks.
The bloodshed has laid bare the spiraling tensions in Egypt as the July 3 ouster of Mursi, the country’s first freely elected civilian president, exposed fault lines between the government and secularists on the one hand, and Islamists who saw themselves pushed from power after just a year on the other.
“What we are witnessing is part of a very long process of confrontation that will continue to be violent until a decisive event happens,” either a reconciliation or a harsher military crackdown, said Ziad Akl, a senior researcher at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.
Since the military’s intervention, the Islamist group has been the target of the heaviest crackdown in decades, with its leaders detained and hundreds of supporters killed and arrested by security forces.
Assailants on a motorbike opened fire at customs police in Port Said today, killing one man and wounding another, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.
Yesterday, a suicide bomber wearing police uniform detonated a car laden with explosives inside a security base at El-Tour in southern Sinai, said Mohamed Abdel-Salam, head of the region’s justice department. Four policemen were killed, and more than 60 people injured, according to Health Ministry officials. Near Ismailiya, six soldiers were killed by gunmen.
The bloodshed is undermining efforts to revive Egypt’s battered economy, leaving the most populous Arab country largely dependent on aid from Gulf states to stem a decline in foreign reserves. Growth has been near a two-decade low since the uprising against Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.
The Egyptian Exchange’s benchmark EGX30 index fell 0.2 percent, to 5,755.33, at 12:24 p.m. in Cairo.
The military has been waging a battle against what it describes as “terrorists” in Sinai, as officials express concerns that the violence there could breed an insurgency in other parts of the country.
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