Car bomb attack on Egypt police building kills 14


Police officers stand near damaged vehicles outside the building of Directorate of Security after an explosion in Egypt's Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Cairo December 24, 2013. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood condemned a bomb attack on a security compound in the Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia which killed 12 people and wounded more than 100 early on Tuesday, a month before a vote on a new constitution key to transition from military-backed rule. Photo - Reuters

Cairo: A car bomb tore through a police building in an Egyptian city early Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, an attack the authorities said was aimed at derailing the country's transition to democracy.

The attack, one of the deadliest since the military removed Morsi from power in July, comes just weeks ahead of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution that is billed as the first major step towards democracy after the Islamist leader's overthrow.

The bomb ripped through the police headquarters in the city of Mansoura, north of Cairo, security officials said. Medics said at least 14 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.

The security sources said the explosion was massive and a part of the building had caved in.

"The majority of the casualties are from the police," 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 kilometres (12 miles) 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.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said the building's facade had been ripped off by the impact.

The wreckage of an armoured police car stood nearby, while at least 10 civilian cars were damaged and a nearby building completely collapsed, he said.

There has been widespread bloodshed in Egypt since Morsi's July 3 ouster.

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

The movement's top leaders -- including its supreme guide, Mohamed Badie -- have been put on trial.

Morsi too is on trial over several charges including some related to the deaths of protesters during his presidency.

After Morsi was ousted, Egypt's military-installed authorities announced a road map for a democratic transition.

On January 14 and 15 the country is holding a referendum on a new constitution -- the first step in the plan.

The constitution, if approved, will be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections by mid-2014.

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