Egypt hit by string of armed robberies

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CAIRO: Gunmen raided a money transfer company in Cairo on Wednesday, state news agency MENA reported, bringing to five the number of armed robberies in less than a week in a country previously unaccustomed to such incidents.

Two men attacked the Super Service company in the east of the Egyptian capital, seizing LE800,000 ($130,000/€99,000), MENA said.

On Tuesday, a post office in Helwan, south of Cairo, was raided by individuals who fired guns in the air before making off with LE150,000 ($25,000), while a Cairo office of British banking giant HSBC was attacked by gunmen a day earlier.

The authorities said one suspect was arrested and LE320,000 ($53,000) were recovered.
On the same day, a vehicle transporting cash was attacked at gun point in Helwan.

And on Saturday, a hold-up at a money exchange bureau in the old souk, or market, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, left a French tourist dead and three people wounded, when the four masked robbers traded fire with police as they fled they scene.

Since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last February, Egypt has seen sporadic and sometimes deadly unrest coupled with a sharp rise in crime, linked to the scarcity of the unpopular police force, who were heavily criticized for their crackdown on protesters during the uprising.

Sharm El-Sheikh is located in the Sinai peninsula, where the security situation is the worst, owing to the heavily armed resident Bedouin community.

In the capital itself, with its population of 20 million, crimes such as car theft have became more widespread in the past 12 months, but armed attacks on banks remain rare.


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