At least 16 people were killed early Friday in a firebomb attack on a restaurant in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
Officials say they do not know why the El Sayad restaurant and bar in the Agouza neighborhood was attacked. Security officials say the attack was not linked to terrorism.
The Interior Ministry said the attack happened after a disagreement between customers and restaurant workers. But earlier, the state news agency reported an official said three men on a motorcycle threw a firebomb into the restaurant and fled.
An official told the Reuters news agency the attacker was a former employee who had recently been removed from the restaurant.
Islamic extremists have carried out many attacks in Egypt since Mohamed Morsi was ousted as president in 2013 and detained by the military. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A militant group that says it supports the Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. Most of the attacks have targeted government facilities. Most of them have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, where many militants live and operate.
The attacks have greatly reduced the number of travelers to Egypt.
Also this week, Egypt’s parliamentary election ended Wednesday. Experts believe most voters marked their ballots for supporters of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Some experts say few people voted.
And there were reports that some people were paid to mark their ballots. These and other problems could be used to cancel the election results and force the new parliament to stop meeting.
El-Sissi was not a candidate. But experts said they believe the election will give him strong support in parliament, which has about 600 seats. They said they believe his supporters will approve 200 laws he has put into place by presidential order.
Last year, a new constitution was approved that lets lawmakers remove a president and call for early elections.
Even though few people voted, election workers said they were excited because the country has not had a parliament since 2012.
Johan Saeed -- an election worker in Cairo -- said, “I love my homeland. I love Egypt. I hope the right candidate will win. I hope all the candidates will win, including myself.”
Some observers said some voters were paid for their votes.
Lawyer Sameh Eldeep said “some of the candidates are trying to win votes with bribes, and it is changing which candidates they are voting for.”
Some observers say vote buying in Egypt is common, and operates like a large business.
Essam Azmy, an election monitor, said “buying votes has become like the stock market -- the morning opens with one price and in the afternoon it’s a higher price. The highest prices are just before the polling stations close.”
The new parliament is expected to meet beginning next month.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA Central News reported on the firebombing story. VOA's Heather Murdock reported on the Egyptian parliamentary election from Cairo. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the stories for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
facility – n. something (such as a building or large piece of equipment) that is built for a specific purpose
bribe – n. something valuable (such as money) that is given in order to get someone to do something illegal or dishonest