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Middle East

Egypt: Homemade bomb hits Sisi rally, 4 hurt

Egyptians walk past a banner with a portrait of Egyptian Presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at a market in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO: A homemade bomb has exploded at an election rally for Egyptian presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, wounding four people, including two policemen, the official news agency reported.

Sisi, the front-runner in the May 26-27 vote, was not at the rally in the Cairo district of Ezbet al-Nakhl when the bomb went off late Saturday.

The attack was the first to be reported on a campaign event for the retired field marshal, who ousted Egypt's first freely elected president last July. Sisi has not appeared in any election rallies, apparently for security reasons, restricting his campaign to television appearances and interviews.

Sisi said in a recent TV interview that two assassination plots against him had been uncovered, but he gave no details.

Islamic militants have stepped up attacks in Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Morsi. They have targeted senior government officials, security facilities and army and police personnel across much of the country.

Sisi's only rival in the vote is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who has been crisscrossing the country to canvass voters. Sabahi won nearly five million votes in the last presidential elections in 2012, finishing a strong third. Morsi won that election, but Sisi removed him a year later after millions staged street protests demanding he resign.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood had won every vote since the February 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, although Morsi's runoff win in June 2012 was narrow.

Sisi is expected to win comfortably, but his repeated calls on Egypt's 50 million plus voters to participate indicate he seeks a strong mandate for the next four years.

A constitution drafted by a mostly secular panel appointed by the military-backed interim president was adopted in a nationwide referendum in January by more than 90 percent, but turnout was relatively low at under 40 percent.

 

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