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Bomb Near Egypt Military Intelligence Building Wounds Five

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Cairo Protests
An Egyptian man passes a car set on fire during clashes with police outside a university campus in Cairo on Dec. 9, 2013. Photographer: Tarek Wajeh/AFP via Getty Images

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- An explosion near a military intelligence building in a Nile Delta province wounded at least four soldiers, Egypt’s armed forces said, as violence worsens ahead of next month’s referendum on a new constitution.

One civilian was also wounded in attack in the village of Anshas, Said Abdel-Aziz, governor of Sharqiya province, told state-run television, which reported that the blast was caused by a car bomb. The bombing also partially damaged the building, the military said on Facebook.

The attack, which follows an blast near a Cairo university campus on Dec. 26, marks the latest escalation in violence since the military toppled President Mohamed Mursi on July 3. The ouster was followed by a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood group, from which Mursi hails, with hundreds of Islamists killed in clashes with security forces. The military-backed government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization last week and blamed the group for the recent surge in attacks, without providing evidence.

The unrest has undermined efforts to revive Egypt’s economy. The government has said the violence, including a deadly Dec. 24 car bomb outside a security building in the Nile Delta, is an attempt to derail the transition to democracy. Egyptians are set to vote in a constitutional referendum next month, a step that would pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections.

Television footage showed one side of the intelligence building blown out after today’s explosion, with the military and police swarming the area. State-run television, citing its correspondent, also reported an explosion outside a university campus in the city of Damietta. The state-run Middle East News Agency, though, said the device was defused.

Police fired tear gas to break up a student protest at Al-Azhar Unversity’s campus in Cairo, the state-run news agency reported. A day earlier, one person was killed in Cairo and 31 injured in clashes between authorities and Mursi’s supporters in three provinces, MENA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Cairo at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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