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At Least 14 Killed in Explosions at Egyptian Government Building

24 December 2013 19:08

eg1At least 14 people were killed Tuesday night when two explosions hit an Interior Ministry building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, according to media reports from Egypt.
Al-Ahram, a semi-official news agency, reported that Health Ministry officials said 130 people also were wounded.
Among the people injured is the head of the security directorate of Dakahlia governorate, state-news agency MENA added, citing Health Ministry officials. Part of the building collapsed after the explosion, MENA said.

One blast occurred on one of the top floors of the building and was followed by a car bomb, MENA reported.
Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi called it a terrorist incident and said the perpetrators will not go unpunished.
Without directly blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, the party that backs ousted President Mohamed Mursi, for Tuesday’s attack, he called that party a terrorist group in his statement to the nation.

The Muslim Brotherhood tweeted Tuesday that it “strongly condemned the cowardly bombing in #Mansoura & express deep condolences to families of the victims #Egypt.”
An Egyptian court in September ordered a ban on activities by the Muslim Brotherhood and froze its finances, in a move that diminished its political power.
At least 10 ambulances had responded to the scene. So many people rushed to a blood donation center that workers had to turn people away, he added.

The blasts come in the lead-up to Egypt’s referendum on a new constitution, which will be held January 14 and 15.

The draft constitution would ban religious parties and put more power in the hands of the military.

Since Mursi was toppled, there have been almost daily protests, some of which have ended in violence and other bombings, such as one on December 12 when 20 police recruits were injured in a car bomb attack.

On Sunday, Ansar al-Quds, a self-proclaimed group responsible for several terrorist attacks, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula, issued an online statement calling on army and police members to quit.
“With your staying in these institutions from evening to morning, you are incurring the anger of Allah,” the statement said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s bombing.
Mursi has endured a series of legal troubles.
He and 132 others will face trial for escaping from prison in 2011, state media reported Saturday.
Mursi will be tried along with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Hamas, al Ahram reported.

He is also charged with raiding other prisons, and killing soldiers and officers in Rafah, it said.
He has been in custody since his ouster.

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