Egyptian Minister Lucky To Escape Assassination Attempt-A powerful bomb blast targeted Egypt’s interior minister as he left his eastern Cairo home yesterday morning, injuring 21 security officials and bystanders and raising fears of a new era of political violence in the country.
Mohamed Ibrahim, a significant figure in the violent crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi’s deposed Islamist government, walked away unhurt from the attack, which was aimed at his vehicle convoy in the Nasr City district of the capital.
He later told reporters that the assassination attempt was “not the end, but the beginning” of what he anticipated would be a drawn-out fight against “terrorism”.
The attack, the most high profile since Mr Morsi’s overthrow, took place in a district of the capital flooded with security forces and installations and is likely to heighten tensions between the security forces and Egypt’s Islamists.
Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, commander of the armed forces and the power behind the interim government installed after the removal of Mr Morsi, insisted the security forces would continue “to eliminate all criminal hotbeds and to deal strictly and decisively with the terrorist elements” – code words for the ongoing security crackdown against Mr Morsi’s Islamist supporters.
Security forces blocked access roads to the site and other interior ministry facilities in the aftermath of the explosion. Crime-scene investigators scoured the site for clues but officials appeared unsure whether the explosion was caused by a suicide car bomb or an explosives-laden car detonated by remote control.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack, which was condemned by Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group and other Islamist political organisations.
“The bombing allegedly targeting the minister of interior today is regrettable and the alliance strongly condemns it,” the Brotherhood’s Amr Darrag said on behalf of the Anti-Coup Alliance, a coalition of mostly Islamist groups opposed to Mr Morsi’s removal from power.
Series of attacks
The assassination attempt appears to be the most serious in a series of attacks on security forces following the popularly backed military coup against the elected government of Mr Morsi and the violent dispersal of protests by his supporters last month.
Suspected Islamist insurgents have been targeting security installations, checkpoints and government buildings and provincial headquarters in a throwback to the violence that plagued Egypt in the 1990s.
Kamal Abu Eita, the interim government’s manpower and immigration minister, said cabinet officials had been warned to tighten security precautions, especially when entering and leaving government installations and during late-night hours at work. “The goal of such attacks is to show people outside the country that the security situation in Egypt is not good,” he said.
The violence will further deter the foreign investment and tourism that Egypt badly needs to restore an economy damaged by 2½ years of unrest. Egypt’s benchmark EGX30 stock has dropped 2.5 per cent this week. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013)