October 8, 2013

Egypt satellite station attacked

A string of attacks kills nine members of the security and military forces.

The Associated Press

CAIRO — A string of attacks killed nine members of Egypt’s security and military forces and hit the country’s main satellite communications station Monday, in apparent retaliation by Islamic militants a day after more than 50 supporters of the ousted president were killed in clashes with police.

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Egyptian security forces inspect the site of a suicide car bombing on a security headquarters in the southern Sinai town of el-Tor, Egypt, on Monday.

The Associated Press

The attacks show a dangerous expansion of targets, including the first strike against civilian infrastructure in the heart of the capital. They also blur the lines between the wave of Islamist protests against the military ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, and an insurgency that previously had been largely confined to the northern Sinai Peninsula.

It is also likely to harden positions of the military-backed government and its opponents, making reconciliation more difficult.

“We are at war with them,” said Mohammed Ibrahim, the country’s interior minister in charge of security forces, pointing to militant groups. He suggested the surge in attacks, particularly the targeting of the satellite station, was in retaliation for the government crackdown on Sunday’s protests.

“This is an attempt to prove they are still around and are not broken,” he said, without specifying which groups are behind the attacks. “They also aim to confuse, to distract” security forces.

In another development Monday likely to give momentum to the government crackdown on Islamists, a panel of judges recommended the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, which was registered months after the 2011 ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The judges’ recommendation said the party represents an outlawed group. The recommendations will be delivered to a Cairo court reviewing a case demanding the party’s dissolution on Oct. 19.

Another court had already ordered a ban on the Brotherhood’s activities, and froze its assets, a decision currently reviewed by a government-appointed committee amid legal challenges from group members.

Ashraf Badreddin, a member of the FJP, said authorities had already shut down offices of the party long before a court decision, telling Doha-based satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera Mubasher Masr that the recommendation was “politicized.”

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