Security forces kill militants after bus bomb explosion

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Egyptian security forces killed 12 suspected Islamist militants in Cairo, the Interior Ministry said, a day after an explosion targeting a tourist bus injured at least 12 people.

A rudimentary device containing nails and metal pieces detonated on the perimeter of the Grand Egyptian Museum near a bus carrying 25 South African tourists to the pyramids district.

The Interior Ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Sunday’s attack, ading its forces killed the suspects during raids on their hideouts in the 6th of October and Al Shorouk districts, where members of the militant group Hasm were planning attacks to create an “atmosphere of chaos.”

Egypt accuses the group, which emerged in 2016 and claimed several attacks, of being a wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement denies this and says it seeks change through peaceful means.

The ministry said the suspects were killed in gun battles, but did not elaborate on identity, any casualties or injuries among the security forces.

Weapons and explosives were found at the scene, the ministry said.

A Reuters investigation in April found Egyptian security forces shot dead hundreds of suspected militants in what the Interior Ministry said were gun battles, which bereaved families said were extrajudicial executions.

A Reuters analysis of ministry statements showed deadly shootouts often followed militants attacks. As an example, in December 2018, a day after the fatal bombing of a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza, the ministry said its forces killed 40 in three separate incidents.

Human rights organisations accuse Egypt of extrajudicial executions and trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said human rights should be treated in the context of regional turbulence and the struggle against terrorism. Strong security measures, he said, are needed to stabilise Egypt after the turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Egypt’s military and police launched a major campaign against militant groups in 2018, focusing on the Sinai Peninsula, southern areas and the Libyan border.