Monday 22 January 2018

Minister who helped oust Morsi survives bomb attack

Richard Spencer, Magdy Samaan and Louisa Loveluck Cairo

EGYPT'S interior minister has survived a suspected suicide bomb attack in northern Cairo, which he said marked the "beginning of a new wave of terrorism".

No one was killed in the attack, the first in the capital since Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president, was deposed in July. But more than 20 people were injured, some seriously, including a 16-year-old British schoolgirl who lost a leg.

Mohammed Ibrahim, who was appointed interior minister by Mr Morsi but supported his overthrow, was driving in a convoy near the ministry when the attack, which police said "appeared to be a suicide bombing", happened shortly after 10.30am.

A man was heard to cry "Allahu akbar" after the explosion, which was followed by a gun battle that left bullet holes down the side of the minister's vehicle. Two men alleged to be attackers were said to have been killed by the security services.

"It was a heinous attempt," Mr Ibrahim said. "Even if I am martyred, another minister of the interior will come and continue the war on the evil terror until we secure the country."

Opponents of the military-backed regime's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its forced dispersal of protests with the loss of more than 1,000 lives have warned that it might trigger a violent response.

The government says that the Brotherhood has encouraged terrorism.

One of the few senior Brotherhood leaders not arrested or on the run, Amr Darrag, issued a statement condemning the attack.


It was witnessed by large numbers of people living in the middle-class Nasr City district of Cairo, home to both a number of bases of the security forces and of the mosque that became the centre of pro-Brotherhood protests after Mr Morsi was overthrown.

"People were running around randomly," said Raouf Mahmoud (25), a doctor. "Two police cars were set on fire. Fifteen minutes later an ambulance came and took four or five people away."

The wreckage was strewn across the road, cars had their roofs peeled off and nearby shop fronts were shattered.

Egyptian activists said they feared a return to the Islamist terrorist campaigns of the 1990s, in which scores of people, including Western tourists, were killed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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