Day After Cairo Protests |

Egypt Death Toll Rises to 53, After Attacks Near Suez Canal and Sinai

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The death toll from clashes in Egypt rose to 53 on Monday as calm returned to the streets after one of the bloodiest days since the military toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.

Gunmen kill six Egyptian soldiers in a drive-by attack near the Suez Canal. A blast earlier on Monday hit a security headquarters building in southern Sinai, killing three and wounding 48.

Traffic flowed normally in central Cairo where thousands of Morsi supporters had battled security forces and army supporters on Sunday on the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War with Israel.

State radio said security forces had regained full control of Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. In addition to the dead, the Health Ministry said 271 people had been wounded in the clashes. Most of the casualties were Morsi supporters, security sources said.

Further confrontations may shake Egypt this week. An alliance that includes Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has urged Egyptians to stage more protests against the army takeover from Tuesday and gather on Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday.

Political tensions since the army unseated Morsi on July 3 have unnerved foreign investors and hammered tourism, a pillar of the economy, but there is no sign of reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the army-backed government.
Security forces smashed pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo on Aug. 14, killing hundreds of people. In an ensuing crackdown, many Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested in an attempt to decapitate Egypt's oldest Islamist movement.

Authorities had warned that anyone protesting against the army during Sunday's 1973 war anniversary would be regarded as an agent of foreign powers, not an activist - a hardening of language that suggests authorities may crack down harder.

The Brotherhood remains defiant, organizing demonstrations, even if they are much smaller than ones staged weeks ago.

Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in an interview published on Monday in a privately owned Egyptian newspaper, al-Masry al-Youm, said Egypt's national interests differed from those of the Brotherhood as an organization.

Sisi, in the interview conducted before Sunday's violence, also spoke about his previous meetings with Morsi, whose time in office he said had driven Egypt in the direction of civil war.

"I told Mursi in February you failed and your project is finished," al-Masry al-Youm quoted Sisi as saying.

Sisi denied Brotherhood allegations that the army had intended to remove Morsi through a coup, saying it had only responded to the will of the people.

Before Morsi's overthrow, Egyptians disillusioned with his year-long rule had held huge rallies demanding that he quit.

Last month, a court banned the Brotherhood and froze its assets, pushing the group, which had dominated elections held in Egypt after Hosni Mubarak's fall in 2011, further into the cold.

Growing security challenges near Suez Canal and Sinai

Gunmen killed five Egyptian soldiers near the Suez Canal city of Ismailia on Monday, security sources said.

Egyptian security officials say one army officer and four soldiers were killed in a drive-by shooting east of Cairo.

The officials say the five were on patrol in a pickup truck when masked gunmen in another vehicle opened fire at them. According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, one of the killed officers was a lieutenant.

Also on Monday, a massive explosion, possibly from a car bomb, hit the security headquarters in a southern Sinai town, killing two people and wounding 48.

The security officials say the attack in the town of al-Tour significantly damaged the four-story building and set off small fires.

They say the death toll was likely to rise as rescue workers and residents search for victims under the rubble.

Islamic militants, some with Al-Qaida links, have been targeting security forces daily in northern Sinai in what has increasingly become a full-fledged insurgency.
But the southern part of the strategic peninsula, which includes the popular diving resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has been peaceful.

Egyptian security forces and civilians detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 6, 2013.Credit: AP
People gather in Tahrir square to celebrate the anniversary of an attack on Israeli forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in Cairo, Oct. 6, 2013.
Morsi supporters rally in Cairo.Credit: AP

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