Cairo (dpa) – Cairo was rocked before dawn Thursday by a massive car
bomb that hit a security agency building in the northern suburb of
Shubra al-Kheima, injuring 29 people, the Health Ministry said.
The bomber parked his car outside the security cordon of the National
Security agency before fleeing on a motorcycle that had been
following him, the Interior Ministry said.
A statement published on social media by supporters of Islamic State
claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of the jihadist
group’s Egyptian branch. dpa was not able to verify the authenticity
of the claim.
The blast was heard across Cairo. State television broadcast footage
of the building’s damaged facade and showed officials examining
The Interior Ministry said six policemen were injured.
The Health Ministry, in a statement quoted later by the state-run
newspaper al-Ahram, said 29 people were injured in total, of whom 27
had minor injuries.
Islamic State supporters on social media published a supposed
statement from the group claiming the attack as “revenge for the
martyrs of Arab Sharkas,” a village in northern Egypt where police in
March 2014 said they killed six militants in a raid on their hideout.
Another six men were executed in May this year after being convicted
by a military court for their alleged part in the shootout, in which
two police officers were also killed.
Human rights organizations had called for the executions to be
cancelled, pointing to evidence that three of the condemned were
already in custody at the time of the raid.
Egyptian security forces have been repeatedly targeted by Islamist
militants. Attacks spread from the turbulent Sinai Peninsula to Cairo
after the army deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in mid-2013.
Deadly bombings on security headquarters in Cairo and the northern
city of al-Mansoura in January 2014 and December 2013 were claimed by
a group that later declared itself the Sinai Province of Islamic
Sinai Province last week claimed to have beheaded kidnapped Croatian
engineer Tomislav Salopek, in what would be the first such abduction
and killing of a foreign national in Egypt.
Smaller attacks on security forces have been claimed by a number of
other groups. Analysts said some of those groups might be linked to
disaffected youth from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The government regularly accuses the Brotherhood of being linked to
all acts of terrorism in Egypt. The Islamist organization said it is
committed to peaceful protest.
National Security, the country’s feared secret police, has played a
key role in a crackdown that has seen thousands of Brotherhood
activists rounded up. Hundreds more have been killed in clashes with
police, including at protests.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Sunday signed an anti-terrorism
law providing for harsh penalties, new powers of arrest and a ban on
deliberately publishing “false news or statements” that contradict
official accounts of terrorist incidents.