Third Egyptian policeman dies from Cairo suicide blast

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An Egyptian police officer in plainclothes rolls a piece of equipment to the site where the body of a suicide bomber lay covered in a sheet behind al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo on February 19, 2019. (FP / Khaled Desouki)
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The blast took place near the Al-Azhar mosque in central Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Third Egyptian policeman dies from Cairo suicide blast

  • Two more policemen and a woman were injured by the blast
  • Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic instability

CAIRO: The death toll from a late-night suicide blast near Cairo’s famed tourist market rose to three on Tuesday after a police officer died of his wounds, Egyptian security officials said.

All three fatalities in the attack late Monday near Khan el-Khalili bazaar in the heart of Cairo were policemen. The explosion also wounded two other policemen and a woman, the officials said.

The attack was a rarity for the central area of Egypt’s capital following progress from a security crackdown under President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The Interior Ministry said the attacker, identified as 37-year-old Al-Hassan Abdullah, blew up his explosives after police officers approached him with the intention to arrest him.

The man was wanted in a bombing last Friday near a mosque in Cairo’s district of Giza and the police had been monitoring his movements, the statement said. The attacker’s affiliation was not known and no militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The ministry had blamed members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood for last week’s attack, which it said targeted a security checkpoint and wounded three people.

Following Monday’s explosion, which shattered windows and blew curtains off nearby balconies, Egyptian police and soldiers cordoned off the narrow streets around the bazaar. A body, covered with a white sheet stained with blood, was seen lying on the ground in the blocked-off area, close to Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar mosque.

In a house nearby, police found a bomb and bomb-making material, which prompted the evacuation of the whole building, said the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Egypt has been facing an insurgency led by the Daesh group that is largely limited to northern Sinai Peninsula but which occasionally spills out to the mainland.


Syria's return to Arab League not on summit agenda: spokesman

Updated 9 min 17 sec ago
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Syria's return to Arab League not on summit agenda: spokesman

  • The pan-Arab bloc, which is set to hold its annual summit in Tunisia on March 31, froze Syria's membership in November 2011 over a bloody government crackdown on protestors
  • But several of the bloc's other 21 members have recently renewed ties with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad

CAIRO: The Arab League said Sunday it was not planning to discuss reinstating Syria's membership at a summit later this month, more than eight years after suspending it as the country descended into war.
The pan-Arab bloc, which is set to hold its annual summit in Tunisia on March 31, froze Syria's membership in November 2011 over a bloody government crackdown on protestors.
But several of the bloc's other 21 members have recently renewed ties with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and some have called for Syria to be re-admitted to the league.
"The issue of Syria's return to the Arab League has yet to be listed on the agenda and has not been formally proposed," said the League's spokesman Mahmoud Afifi.
He noted that the "Syrian crisis" however still tops the agenda, along with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the situation in Yemen and Libya.
Syria's conflict flared in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations that sparked a brutal regime crackdown.
It has since drawn in regional powers, killing 370,000 people and displacing millions.
But the regime, backed by allies Russia and Iran, has since re-conquered much of the territory it had lost to rebels and terrorists, and now controls some two-thirds of the country.
Syria's Kurds, which declared victory over Daesh on Saturday, control much of the oil-rich northeast, which the regime has hinted it may seize back in a military operation.
Earlier this month, Syrian officials attended a meeting of Arab states in neighbouring Jordan for the first time since the country's Arab League membership was suspended.
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in December made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011.
The same month, Egypt hosted Syria's national security chief and top Assad aide Ali Mamluk.
The UAE also reopened its Damascus embassy in a major sign of a diplomatic thaw.
Arab states have also slammed US President Donald Trump's call for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic territory the Jewish state seized from Syria in 1967.