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October 07, 2013

Government Targets Hit in Egypt

by Edward Yeranian

Attacks on government targets in Egypt Monday are adding to instability after a weekend of clashes. Suspected militants attacked a satellite television facility in Cairo, while a car bomb went off in front of a government building in the Sinai.

In one attack Monday, masked gunmen opened fire on an army patrol at a checkpoint near the city of Ismailia, killing six soldiers. The incident occurred shortly after a car bomb hit a security headquarters in the southern Sinai Peninsula, killing three policemen and wounding dozens.

Egyptian state TV blamed Islamist militants in the Sinai for the attack and accused them of trying to destabilize the country.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin

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Several European countries recently lifted travel advisories to the Sinai, a top tourist destination, amid improving security. Egyptian analysts say the attack was probably intended to scare tourists away, intensifying economic pressure on the government.

In a Cairo suburb, attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at a government communications facility early Monday, causing light damage to an international satellite dish. Some reports say the dish is part of the upload network for the Egyptian-owned Nilesat.

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Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo says supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi are angry at the Egyptian media and recently attacked two prominent Egyptian journalists.

Sadek suspects that Morsi supporters within the Muslim Brotherhood, who find themselves under increasing pressure from the military-installed interim government, are orchestrating the violence to draw international attention.

"Their strategy now is very clear: they need to send a message of unrest and instability to the world by organizing a lot of actions, and violence because they have small groups that are demonstrating, so they have to attract media; so to attract media, they need violence, like we have seen yesterday,” Sadek believes.

More than 50 people were killed across Egypt Sunday as Muslim Brotherhood activists clashed with security forces and Egyptians who support the military-backed government.

Meanwhile, at least five Egyptian soldiers were killed in an attack on their vehicle Monday near the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya. Another attack on a military vehicle killed two soldiers last week.

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