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Five Egyptian soldiers shot dead in Cairo

File picture shows an Egyptian soldier at a checkpoint in Cairo/AFP

File picture shows an Egyptian soldier at a checkpoint in Cairo/AFP

Cairo, MARCH 15- Gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint in Cairo Saturday, killing five Egyptian soldiers, state television reported.

The attack comes two days after gunmen attacked a military bus in the capital, killing a soldier. Militants have launched scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces, since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Most of the attacks have taken place in the restive Sinai Peninsula, but in recent months militants have expanded their reach to the Nile Delta and the capital.

The five soldiers were shot dead on the outskirts of northern Cairo in the Shubra Al-Kheima neighbourhood, state television reported.

“Police found two bombs at the site of the attack which were safely detonated,” a policeman told state television.

The government has blamed much of the attacks on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which renounced violence decades ago and has denied any involvement.

The most prominent attacks, including a car bombing at a police headquarters in Cairo and the downing of a military helicopter in Sinai, have been claimed by Ansar Beit al Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem), a Sinai based jihadist movement.

The group has said the attacks are in retaliation for a brutal government crackdown on Morsi’s Islamist supporters, which Amnesty International says has claimed some 1,400 lives.

Morsi was elected in Egypt’s first ever democratic presidential election, following the 2011 uprising that toppled long ruling dictator Hosni Mubarak.

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But his year in power bitterly polarised Egyptians, and last summer the military ousted him amid mass protests demanding his overthrow.


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