The Latest: Egyptian president meets with campaign workers

A woman casts her vote during the first day of the presidential election at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Egyptians head to the polls on Monday but the presidential election this time is not about who wins — that was settled long ago — but about how many people bother to cast ballots. Arabic reads, "choose one candidate, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Moussa Mustafa Moussa". (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Ballots with photos and names of presidential candidates Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at top, and Moussa Mustafa Moussa, are visible inside a ballot box at a polling station, during the first day of the presidential election, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Egyptians head to the polls on Monday but the presidential election this time is not about who wins — that was settled long ago — but about how many people bother to cast ballots. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
An army officer checks voters bags as they prepare to enter a polling station during the first day of the presidential election in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Polls opened on Monday in Egypt's presidential election with the outcome — a second, four-year term for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — a foregone conclusion, in what is seen by critics as a signal of the country's return to the authoritarian rule that prevailed since the 1950s. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
People chat and smoke traditional water pipes under an election campaign banner for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with Arabic that reads, "for the sake of the nation security", in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 24, 2018. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the general-turned-president, will stand for re-election next week against Moussa, a little-known politician who has made no effort to challenge him. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Egyptian men wave national flags as they wait in line to vote during the first day of the presidential election in front of a polling site in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Egyptians head to the polls on Monday but the presidential election this time is not about who wins — that was settled long ago — but about how many people bother to cast ballots. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
A woman casts her ballot during the first day of the presidential election at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Polls opened on Monday in Egypt's presidential election with the outcome — a second, four-year term for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — a foregone conclusion, in what is seen by critics as a signal of the country's return to the authoritarian rule that prevailed since the 1950s. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
FILE - In this Thursday, March 22, 2018 file photo, election banners for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, hang in Tahrir Square, which was the focal point of the Jan. 25, 2011 Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt. Seven years ago, Cairo’s Tahrir Square was filled with tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding change. Now it is festooned with portraits of the president, vowing continuity. Almost all traces of the popular revolt that overthrew autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 are now gone. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Women pose for a photograph after voting during the first day of the presidential election outside a polling site in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Polls opened on Monday in Egypt's presidential election with the outcome — a second, four-year term for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — a foregone conclusion, in what is seen by critics as a signal of the country's return to the authoritarian rule that prevailed since the 1950s. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
A woman poses for a photo after voting during the first day of the presidential election outside a polling site in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 26, 2018. Polls opened on Monday in Egypt's presidential election with the outcome — a second, four-year term for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — a foregone conclusion, in what is seen by critics as a signal of the country's return to the authoritarian rule that prevailed since the 1950s. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

CAIRO — The Latest on Egypt's presidential election (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has met with his campaign workers after casting his ballot in an election he is virtually guaranteed to win.

El-Sissi's only challenger is a little-known politician who joined the race at the last minute to spare the government the embarrassment of a one-candidate election after a string of serious hopefuls were forced out of the running or arrested.

The meeting on Monday, detailed by el-Sissi's office, was the president's first publicized meeting with his campaign leaders. El-Sissi has not done any traditional campaigning in the run-up to Monday's voting, which will continue for another two days.

El-Sissi led the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, and the government has waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent since then.

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12:45 p.m.

Egypt has deployed tens of thousands of policemen and soldiers to protect polling centers across the country as Egyptians vote to elect their president for the next four years.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's victory is a foregone conclusion. His only challenger is Moussa Mustafa Moussa, a little known politician who joined the race in the last minute to spare the government the embarrassment of a one-candidate election after several hopefuls were forced out or arrested.

Authorities hope enough people — there are nearly 60 million eligible voters — will vote in the three-day balloting that started on Monday to give the election legitimacy.

El-Sissi cast his ballot as soon as the polls opened at 9 a.m. at a girls' school in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. Local TV stations showed festive scenes outside polling centers, with women and school children singing.

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9:35 a.m.

Egypt's Interior Ministry says it has killed six militants believed to be involved in a weekend bombing in the coastal city of Alexandria that killed two policemen.

The statement late on Sunday said the militants belonged to the Hasm movement and were killed in a raid on their hideout in Beheira province.

The Alexandria blast occurred when an explosive device that was placed under a car detonated as the city's security chief's convoy was driving by in Saturday. He was unharmed.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bombing came just ahead of Egypt's presidential election that got underway on Monday. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi faces no serious challenge in the vote.

Authorities consider Hasm, which routinely targets security personnel, to be a splinter group of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. Militant attacks have surged in Egypt since the military's 2013 ouster of an elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.

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9:05 a.m.

Polls have opened in Egypt's presidential election with the outcome — a second term for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — a foregone conclusion.

The election will last three days, starting on Monday.

A general-turned-president, el-Sissi is challenged by Moussa Mustafa Moussa, a little known politician who joined the race in the last minute to spare the government the embarrassment of a one-candidate election.

Moussa has made no effort to challenge el-Sissi, who never mentioned his challenger once in public.

Authorities hope enough people — there are nearly 60 million eligible voters — will vote in the balloting to give the election legitimacy.

A number of other presidential hopefuls stepped forward earlier this year, including some who might have attracted a sizable protest vote. But they were all either arrested or intimidated out of the race.

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7:30 a.m.

Egyptians are heading to the polls but the presidential election this time is not about who wins — that was settled long ago — but about how many people bother to cast ballots.

Voting starts on Monday and is to last three days.

Authorities hope enough people will vote for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to lend legitimacy to an election in which the only other candidate is an obscure politician who has made no effort to challenge him.

Cairo streets are lined with campaign banners and posters extolling el-Sissi, who has done little in the way of traditional campaigning, and has not publicly mentioned his ostensive challenger, Moussa Mustafa Moussa.

Several other presidential hopefuls who had stepped forward earlier this year have either been arrested or pressured to withdraw.

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