A bomb attack has killed six people including three police officers and injured at least 15 others near a road leading to the Egyptian pyramids in Cairo.
The bomb exploded as a team of officers raided an apartment where militants were preparing explosives in the suburb of Giza, police said.
‘Six people have been killed in the blast, including three policemen,’ an officer said. ‘The others include a civilian and two unidentified men.’
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Crime scene: The bomb exploded as officers raided an apartment where militants were preparing explosives
Aftermath: Pictures show the aftermath of the bomb blast in the suburb of Giza, in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday
The deputy governor of Giza, Alaa Harass, said two of the wounded in the explosion in the Al-Haram district are in a critical condition.
The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the bomb had been planted by Muslim Brotherhood militants and went off when security forces tried to raid the building.
Islamist militants have stepped up attacks on Egyptian soldiers and police since the army toppled president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, following mass protests against his rule.
The neighbourhood of Al-Haram has witnessed several attacks and gunfights since the overthrow of Morsi in July 2013.
It is known to house many of his sympathisers and used to be a regular venue for clashes between his supporters and security forces in the aftermath of his ouster by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The district also houses several hotels frequented by tourists visiting Cairo, given its proximity to the pyramids.
The explosion on Thursday came ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian police have been questioning residents and searching apartments in central Cairo as a ‘precautionary measure’ to prevent street protests on the anniversary, security officials said on Thursday.
The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the bomb had been planted by Muslim Brotherhood militants
Explosion: Three police officers were killed and at least 17 people were injured close to the pyramids in Cairo
The ten-day search campaign was based on surveillance and intelligence gathered over months and focused on young, pro-democracy activists inside and outside the country, including foreigners.
‘We are very concerned and will not allow protests,’ a senior official said. ‘These movements are aimed at polarising society and mobilising the masses against the government.’
Security forces nationwide are bracing themselves for the anniversary of the revolt.
In central Cairo there has been a heightened police presence for days, with riot trucks and civilian cars carrying plainclothes officers prowling the streets day and night, often accompanying forces raiding apartments.
Officials, including the current president, have voiced concern over attempts to mark the anniversary with new protests, and security forces have arrested a number of activists accused of planning demonstrations.
The Cairo bombing comes after gunmen killed five policemen late Wednesday when they attacked a checkpoint in the North Sinai town of Al-Arish.
The Islamic State group’s Egyptian affiliate, the Sinai Province, claimed that attack.