Deadly blast rocks Egyptian police station
Addis Ababa, 24 December 2013 (WIC) - A powerful explosion caused by a car bomb has rocked a police headquarters in an Egyptian city north of Cairo, killing at least 14 people and injuring 120, officials said.
Sections of the five storey building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura collapsed after the blast early on Tuesday and police evacuated surrounding buildings.
The interim government accused the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack, branding it a "terrorist organization."
The Middle East News Agency quoted Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawki as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood showed its "ugly face as a terrorist organization shedding blood and messing with Egypt's security."
The bombing comes weeks before Egypt is to hold a referendum on a new constitution, billed by the army-backed government as the first step towards democracy since the military toppled former president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Al Jazeera's Peter Greste, reporting from Cairo, said it was not yet clear whether the bomb that rocked the Dakhalya Police Security Directorate in the capital of Dakhalya Governorate early on Tuesday had been operated by a suicide bomber or whether it was remotely detonated.
"Police also said that there was a second device," our correspondent said.
The interior ministry said a police van with 15 policemen inside, that was parked beside the building, was destroyed. Four bodies were pulled out of the blazing vehicles and rescuers were searching for others inside.
Al Jazeera's Mohamed Fahmy said five high-ranking police officers were among the dead and that that two other senior officers were critically injured.
"The explosion was so strong that parts of the gate surrounding the directorate are demolished," Fahmy said. "The injured are both police and civilians. Rescue teams pulling people from under rubble."
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Fahmy said early information indicated that the attackers may have had inside information about who was at a meeting in the building.
Omar al-Shawatsi, the governor of Dakhalya, of which Mansoura is the capital, told state media all of the casualties were police.
"The explosion was caused by a car bomb," Shawatsi said.
The impact of the explosion was felt around 20 kilometres away and shattered the windows of nearby buildings, security sources said.
The Daqahleya region's head of security, Sami El-Mihi, was wounded in the blast and two of his aides were killed, security sources said. (Aljazeera)
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