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Egypt Violence Kills Three as Mursi Supporters Warn of Plot

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Violence in Egypt overnight left at least three people dead, as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi said authorities were plotting to discredit them by staging attacks.

One of the deaths was caused by a bomb targeting the security headquarters in the city of Mansoura, northeast of Cairo, while the other two came during clashes between Mursi supporters and opponents, Mohamed Sultan, head of the national ambulance service, said by phone. At least 34 people were injured. Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood says it will continue protests until he is reinstated.

Violence has flared daily in the three weeks since Mursi was pushed from power by the military on July 3 following days of mass rallies against him. At least 100 people have died, including 14 in the last two days, according to the Health Ministry. The tensions are have dimmed hopes of reconciliation and economic recovery under the army-installed interim government.

The Mansoura bombing “happened in a very combustible political environment,” Yasser el-Shimy, a Cairo-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, said by phone today. “One can expect sporadic acts of violence here and there as long as this type of zero-sum game politics continues”

‘Armed Thugs’

The Anti-Coup Pro-Democracy Alliance, a group of Mursi supporters, said its members came under attack by “armed thugs and police in civilian clothes.”

The group condemned the Mansoura bombing while also accusing authorities of plotting to discredit Islamists by scapegoating them for attacks. It cited “an apparent plan by security and intelligence agencies to plot violent attacks to terrorize citizens” and link them to the “peaceful protesters who announced more than once that their power lies in their peacefulness.”

Ahmed El-Meslemani, the presidential spokesman, said in a statement responding to the blast that “Egypt has triumphed before in the war against terror and will again.”

Mursi’s supporters say the removal of Egypt’s first freely elected civilian leader amounts to a coup, and have accused the government of interim President Adly Mansour of cracking down on Islamists since his overthrow, with arrests, travel bans and asset freezes. The anti-Mursi camp accuses the former president of boosting the Islamists’ power-base at the expense of the national interest.

In another overnight attack, unidentified assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a police station in the city of El-Arish in the northern Sinai peninsula, wounding one officer, the local security directorate said in an e-mailed statement.

The incident was the latest in a string of assaults on security forces in the Sinai in recent weeks. The military has stepped up a crackdown on jihadists and others there in a bid to restore order to the region, which has become increasingly lawless since longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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