Egypt opposition party building attacked by rivals

CAIRO Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:51pm EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamists attacked the opposition Wafd party's newspaper offices in central Cairo with petrol bombs and birdshot on Saturday, security sources said.

The violence flared as Egyptians voted in a referendum on a new constitution intended to pull the country out a growing political crisis.

Two people were injured and firefighters said they had put out the flames, a Reuters witness said.

Mostafa Shafik, managing editor at Wafd's newspaper, which is located next to the party headquarters, said the paper's offices had been destroyed.

"I can see from the window that cars are damaged, while the headquarters of the newspaper are destroyed," he told Reuters.

He said police had stood by when the attack was taking place "and at the end fired tear gas at both us and the attackers".

Shafik added: "The attackers used Molotov cocktails to enter, which left minor areas burned."

A Reuters photographer saw a dozen or so cars damaged inside the Wafd headquarters' grounds, their windows broken. Glass was also broken in the headquarters, but he saw no immediate signs of fire damage.

The run-up to the referendum has been marred by violence in Cairo and other cities. Several party buildings belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party have been burned in protests across the country.

(Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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