Nov 6, 2014 3:25 AM

Bomb blast aboard Egyptian train kills 4

The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) A bomb blast aboard a train traveling in the Nile Delta north of Cairo killed four people and wounded nine, security officials said on Thursday.

They said the blast took place shortly before midnight on Wednesday and that two policemen were among those killed.

Also late Wednesday, three people were wounded when a homemade bomb went off aboard a commuter train in the Cairo suburb of al-Marg, said the officials. On Thursday morning in Cairo, a woman was slightly injured when a homemade explosive device went off near one of the city's presidential facilities, the infrequently used al-Quba palace, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for planting any of the three bombs, but the attacks bore the hallmarks of Islamic militants fighting the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a general-turned-politician who took office in June, nearly a year after he led the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Authorities have for years battled Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, but the unrest there has escalated into a full-fledged insurgency since Morsi's ouster in July last year. The attacks, mainly targeting security forces, have spread to the Nile Delta and Cairo itself.

The attacks in Cairo have mainly involved small, homemade bombs that cause few casualties. But they have still revealed meticulous planning and execution by the militants and exposed the inefficiency of the police.

One such attack involved three homemade bombs that went off less than 20 meters (yards) away from the walls of Cairo's presidential Ittihadiya palace, where el-Sissi conducts business on daily basis. Two senior police officers were killed, one of whom was trying to defuse a bomb while in civilian clothes and without wearing protective gear.

In the deadliest ever militant attack on the military, at least 30 soldiers were killed late last month in Sinai, prompting el-Sissi to declare a state of emergency in northern Sinai and order the eviction of some 10,000 people from the town of Rafah on the border with the Gaza Strip.

El-Sissi's government has taken drastic measures to restore law and order and jumpstart the economy after three years of turmoil following the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's nearly three-decade rule in 2011.

But a recent series of deadly road accidents has underscored the persistently poor state of government services and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, at least 18 people, mostly school children, were killed in a horrific road accident north of Cairo. News of the accident dominated the front page of every Cairo newspaper on Thursday. The accident prompted el-Sissi to order an overhaul of traffic regulations to stiffen penalties against offenders.

Last week, the burning death of a newborn baby in a private clinic caused a similar uproar. The baby was placed on a heating device soon after its birth, but a technical fault caused the machine to overheat. Graphic images of the baby's blackened body were published in newspapers, reviving longstanding complaints about a culture of negligence and mismanagement.


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