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Gunmen kill 3 policemen north of Cairo

October 28, 2013

CAIRO (AP) — Gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in a city north of Cairo on Monday and killed three policemen, the Interior Ministry said, the latest sign that Islamic militants who are waging an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula may be spreading their campaign to mainland Egypt.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the city of Mansoura, but such attacks are typical for the militants opposed to Egypt’s military-backed government.

The Egyptian military and police have been battling a full-fledged insurgency by the militants — including several al-Qaida-linked groups — in the volatile northern part of Sinai since shortly after the July ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who became Egypt’s first freely elected president in June last year.

The militants’ campaign has been mostly confined to the troubled peninsula, which is separated from the mainland by the Suez Canal, but attacks outside Sinai have grown in frequency in recent weeks.

The attacks have included an assassination attempt on the interior minister last month, the car bombing of the military intelligence building in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia earlier this month and the killing of four Coptic Christians and a Muslim, outside a Cairo church last week.

Morsi was deposed in a July 3 military coup after mass protests calling for him to go. His ouster was followed by a large-scale crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group in which hundreds have been killed and at least 2,000 members jailed.

Morsi’s supporters, in the meantime, have been staging near-daily protests across much of Egypt to demand his reinstatement. The number of participants in these protests has steadily dwindled, although they occasionally attract thousands.

Morsi, detained in an undisclosed location since July 3, goes on trial on Nov. 4 for his alleged incitement of the killing of protesters outside his presidential palace in Cairo last December.

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