Egypt labels Brotherhood ‘terrorist’ group

Government anger follows car bomb attack which ripped through a police building and killed at least 14 people

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Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement was declared a “terrorist organization” following a car bomb blast at a police building, which killed at least 14 people.

“Prime Minister Beblawi has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” state news agency MENA quoted the premier’s spokesman Sherif Shawki as saying.

The condemnation of the Brotherhood comes just weeks before a referendum on a new constitution that is billed as the first major step toward democracy since the military-backed ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in July.

A car bomb had torn through a police headquarters in the Egyptian city of Mansoura early Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, mostly policemen, medics and officials told Agence France-Presse. Reuters news agency reported more than 100 people were injured in the attack.

The state-run Middle East News Agency quoted Beblawi as saying that those responsible for blast “will not escape punishment.”

On Tuesday, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood condemned the bomb attack.

“The Muslim Brotherhood condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on the police headquarters in Mansoura (region),” an emailed statement from the group’s London press office said, according to Reuters news agency.

“The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice.”

Egypt’s Nile News TV cut into its late-night programming to urge people to go to hospitals to donate blood to the victims.

“The majority of the casualties are from the police. The explosion was caused by a car bomb,” Omar al-Shawatsi, the governor of Daqahleya, of which Mansoura is the capital, told state media.

The impact of the explosion was felt around 20 kilometers away and shattered windows of nearby buildings, the security sources said.

The head of security for Daqahleya, Sami El-Mihi, was wounded in the blast and two of his aides were killed, security sources said.

There has been widespread bloodshed in Egypt since Mursi’s ouster.

He was forced from power on July 3 after massive street protests against his turbulent one-year rule, with millions accusing him of power-grabbing and economic mismanagement.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in a government crackdown on his supporters, mostly from the Brotherhood.

The crackdown has also seen thousands of Islamists, including the entire leadership of the Brotherhood, arrested.

The movement’s top leaders -- including its general guide, Mohammad Badie -- have been put on trial. Mursi too is on trial over several charges including some related to the deaths of protesters during his presidency.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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