Islamist candidate in Egypt elections shot dead in Sinai

An Egyptian woman casts her ballot for the Egyptian parliamentary elections.
An Egyptian woman casts her ballot for the Egyptian parliamentary elections.EPA

CAIRO (AFP) - Gunmen shot dead an Islamist candidate in Egypt's parliamentary elections in North Sinai on Saturday, officials said, where militants are waging an insurgency against the government.

Mostafa Abdel Rahman, a candidate for ultraconservative Salafist Al-Nur party which is seen as pro-government, was gunned down by two assailants on a motorbike outside his home in the town of El-Arish, police officials said.

Nur Party secretary-general Galal al-Murra confirmed his death to AFP.

Nur was the only prominent Islamist party to emerge unscathed from a crackdown on Islamists following the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, having supported his ouster by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

With Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood blacklisted, and thousands of its activists killed or detained, the Nur party remained as the main Islamist grouping contesting the parliamentary elections that began on Oct 18.

Sisi, who is now president, is contending with a fierce insurgency in Sinai by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliated militants who have branded his government as apostate, and elections as a heretical practice.

Abdel Rahman, who also acted as the North Sinai secretary general for the part, was the first politician killed by militants in the two-year insurgency since Morsi's overthrow.

Militants have focused most of their attacks on the military, police and judiciary.

On Saturday, the ISIS group claimed credit for two roadside bombings in El-Arish over the past 48 hours that killed four policemen.

It also said it had planted a bomb at a Cairo intersection flanked by hotels near the pyramids, which wounded four people when police tried to defuse it on Friday.