BEIRUT

Middle East

Two Egyptian police officers killed in attack

Egyptian soldiers stands guard outside the election commission office in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 19, 2014. In an audio interview with Al-Qaeda media arm as-Sahab posted early Saturday on a militant website, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has given his blessing to attacks of Egyptian jihadists on the police and army, but said they should avoid harming civilians. Egypt has been hit with violence since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year. (AP Photo/Amr Nabi

CAIRO: A police officer and a conscript were killed after armed attackers opened fire on their patrol car, Egypt's Interior Ministry announced Sunday, the latest deadly assault against the country's security forces.

The deaths come as militants have stepped up their attacks against security forces since the army ousted Islamist president Mohammad Morsi in July, and just two days after a police officer was killed in a bomb blast in Cairo.

A statement from the ministry said those killed were patrolling the road between Cairo and Suez.

A little-known jihadist group, Ajnad Misr, has vowed fresh attacks against security forces in retaliation for their crackdown on Morsi supporters that, according to Amnesty International, has claimed 1,400 lives.

But the deadliest attacks have been claimed by Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a jihadist group inspired by Al-Qaeda.

Official figures show that more than 500 people – mostly policemen and soldiers – have been killed in bombing and shooting assaults by militants since July.

Most militant attacks have been in the restive Sinai Peninsula, but in recent months, brazen attacks have also been launched farther afield in the Nile Delta and in the capital.

At the same time, more than 15,000 Islamists, mostly from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, have been jailed, while hundreds have been sentenced to death.

The authorities blame the Brotherhood for the attacks and have blacklisted it as a "terrorist organization."

 

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