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Massive Bomb Targets Egyptian Police Station Amid Sweeping Anti-Terror Campaign

Suspected jihadists detonated a massive bomb early Tuesday morning outside a police headquarters in Egypt’s increasingly restive Nile Delta region, collapsing the five-story building, killing at least 11 people, and deepening concerns that Islamist fighters are mobilizing to disrupt a January 14th constitutional referendum designed to transition the country to a democratically elected government.

The car bombing of the Daqahliya security headquarters came a day after an Al Qaeda-linked group demanded that Egyptian security forces desert their posts lest they be targeted as infidels for supporting the current military-backed, relatively secular interim government. The army is locked in a pitched battle with jihadists. Islamist fighters have in recent months steadily escalated a terror campaign that coalesced after the army this summer deposed the country’s Muslim Brotherhood-linked then-president Mohammed Morsi.

On Monday military spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali described Cairo’s progress in uprooting the jihadist infrastructure in the northern Sinai Peninsula:

Egypt’s army said Monday that, since August, it has killed 184 “terrorists” in North Sinai, where militants have carried out nearly daily attacks against security forces after the toppling of president Mohamed Morsi.
The military has “eliminated 184 terrorists and radicals,” state news agency MENA quoted army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali as saying.

Alis said 203 others had been wounded and 835 were arrested.

The Obama administration controversially froze parts of Egypt’s security assistance basket earlier this year in response to Cairo’s moves against the Muslim Brotherhood. The White House at the time explicitly attempted to insulate Egypt’s anti-terror operations from the freeze, but analysts expressed skepticism that such efforts were “actually feasible.”

[Photo: euronews (in English) / YouTube ]