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Police officer killed in Egypt's Sinai

18 October 2013, 20:16Tony G Gabriel

El-Arish - Suspected militants killed an Egyptian police officer Friday in the Sinai Peninsula, as Islamists held scattered protests around the country, calling for the reinstatement of the nation's ousted Islamist president.

Militants have stepped up their attacks against security forces in the restive northern part of Sinai, prompting the army to launch an operation to quell violent incidents against its troops there.

In Friday's attack, gunmen opened fire at the police officer as he walked near his home in the city of el-Arish, an Egyptian security official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to journalists.

Meanwhile, supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood held scattered demonstrations to protest against the interim government and its crackdown on the Islamist group.

Morsi was overthrown in a 3 July military coup, following mass protests calling for him to step down. Since then, his supporters have held near-daily protests against the military-backed leadership.

Thousands of protesters marched across the country Friday. Some rallies turned into clashes between Morsi supporters and those backing the interim military-backed government.

In Fayoum province, south of Cairo, one person was injured during a pro-Morsi march, according to Egypt's state news agency Mena.

In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, security forces intervened to break up scuffles between Morsi supporters and local residents who objected to their protest, Mena reported.

Also in Alexandria, dozens of pro-military protesters took the streets carrying Egyptian flags and portraits of Egyptian army commander General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and chanting against the Brotherhood.


Rallies also took place in several districts of Cairo, including near the constitutional court in the southern part of the capital amid tight security.

Armored vehicles and barbed wires sealed off several of the capital's major squares, sites of previous protests. They included Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's 2011 uprising that forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.

Morsi's supporters repeatedly have tried to rally at Tahrir following the coup that toppled Morsi and the Brotherhood-led government. Earlier this month, 59 protesters were killed in clashes with security forces pushing back a crowd trying to storm Tahrir.

Security, already volatile in Egypt since 2011, has worsened since the coup.

The interim government has launched a major security crackdown on the Brotherhood, arresting nearly 2 000 members, charging its top leaders with inciting murder and violence, and breaking up demonstrations by Morsi supporters with what rights groups call excessive force that has killed hundreds.

Morsi himself remains held at an undisclosed location.

The crackdown has not prevented Morsi supporters from holding near-daily protests demanding his return. However, fewer now attend since they regularly descend into violence.

- AP


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