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Published: Saturday, 2/8/2014

New militant group claims responsibility for bomb attack on Egypt police checkpoint


CAIRO — A newly formed militant group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack targeting an Egyptian police checkpoint in Cairo’s twin city of Giza that wounded six people.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said Saturday that the death toll from clashes the day earlier between Islamist protesters and security forces has risen to three people. It earlier said two had died. The ministry said another ten people were wounded.

Clashes broke out in the capital and other provinces as Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets denouncing the military-backed government. Police moved to disperse them.

Both street violence and militant attacks, mostly targeting the security forces, have surged since Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in July’s military coup, which followed demonstrations by millions calling for his ouster.

Most of the attacks have been claimed by a Sinai-based, al-Qaida-inspired militant group. But recently a new group, Ajnad Misr, Arabic for Egypt’s Soldiers, has also tried to establish a presence.

In a statement posted late Friday on a jihadi website the group said it carried out the double bombing that hit a police vehicle on a bridge earlier in the day.

It said its “soldiers” had sent a message to the “criminal apparatus ... that they are not safe from retribution.”

It also said its fighters were monitoring the movements of the police and the headquarters from which “they launch their attacks every Friday killing and abusing innocent people.”

The group issued its first statement last week, claiming responsibility for several such bombings including one on Jan. 24 that hit police just as they returned from clashes with Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Pro-Morsi protesters frequently demonstrate denouncing his ouster after Friday midday Muslim prayers.

Ajnad Misr vowed to continue its attacks on policemen, urging them to defect and repent. It said it would not keep quiet until “justice prevails and a state accepted by God is established.”

It said police should “leave the service before being overpowered because the events are accelerating and that the chance to defect might not last long.”

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified, but it was posted on an al-Qaida-affiliated website frequently used for militant claims.

The wave of violence, which began as retaliation for the military’s ouster of Morsi, has raised concern that Egypt is evolving into a new front for regional jihadi groups.

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