Three Egyptians killed in bus attack

Attack happened as US deputy secretary of state William Burns held talks with the military, caretaker government and businessmen

Egypt’s interim president Adli Mansour (right) meets US deputy secretary of state William Burns  in Cairo. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Egypt’s interim president Adli Mansour (right) meets US deputy secretary of state William Burns in Cairo. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Tue, Jul 16, 2013, 01:00


Three Egyptian workers were killed and 17 wounded in an attack on a bus mounted by suspected radical fundamentalists in northern Sinai yesterday as US deputy secretary of state William Burns held talks with the military, caretaker government and businessmen.

Military spokesman Ahmad Ali said the bus was hit by rocket-propelled grenades meant for a nearby police vehicle. The strike followed a clash between militants and the army which deposed president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, after millions protested his rule.

The attacks in Sinai may have been timed to coincide with Mr Burns’s visit, the first by a US official since Mr Morsi’s removal. Both the Brotherhood and secular camps contend that the US has been meddling in Egypt’s domestic affairs, favouring the opposite side.

Sit-in
Anti-US feeling runs high in Egypt, particularly against US ambassador Anne Patterson. Banners proclaiming “Obama supports terrorism” and “Obama supports Dictator Morsi” hang in Tahrir Square, the site of the massive protest that led to Mr Morsi’s ousting.

At the Brotherhood sit-in in Nasr city, protesters continued to call for Mr Morsi’s reinstatement as army helicopters dropped leaflets calling on the throng to disperse.

The ultra-conservative Salafi Nour party, a former Brotherhood ally, refused to meet Mr Burns although Washington has called for the release of Mr Morsi and other Brotherhood figures detained by the military. Nour cited “unjustified interference in Egyptian internal affairs” as its reason for rejecting the invitation.

Reconciliation
The Nour party has been pressing for reconciliation between fundamentalist and secular forces in concert with Al-Azhar, the worldwide seat of Sunni learning. This effort has been bolstered by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon who warned against “revenge” and “retribution” and called for “inclusion” and “reconciliation”. French president François Hollande called for a “political solution as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, interim planning minister Ashraf al-Arabi said $12 billion in aid from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait should tide Egypt over the proposed transition period.