Gunmen detained for firing upon Egyptian premier on way to gunfight

Arab World Materials 6 May 2013 13:34 (UTC +04:00)

A group of men were in custody Monday morning after firing upon the Egyptian prime minister's motorcade in Cairo the night before, apparently as they were trying to clear the road on their way to a gunfight with a third party, dpa reported.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil was not harmed, with officials insisting the incident was not an assassination attempt.

A cabinet statement said: "the premier was not harmed in the attack, which had no political motivation."

The five gunmen, who were speeding through Cairo in a truck, tried to escape the scene after the fired birdshot at the official motorcade, but were arrested after they hit a policeman and another person, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry stated that the detainees had admitted that they were speeding as they headed to fight with people elsewhere in Cairo.

The attack comes ahead of a cabinet reshuffle promised by President Mohammed Morsi to ease tensions with the opposition.

The opposition has repeatedly called upon the Islamist president to replace the incumbent government with a caretaker cabinet to guarantee that parliamentary elections, expected later this year, will be fair and free.

Replacing Qandil is a key demand for the opposition.