Car Bomb Explodes Near Security Building in Cairo, ISIL Claims Responsibility
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A car bomb detonated with a thunderous explosion in front of a security building in Cairo early Thursday morning, the authorities said.
It was the latest in a series of attacks in the capital that have unnerved Egyptians and underscored the challenges facing the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The blast occurred in the working-class neighborhood of Shubra al-Kheima shortly before 2 am, tearing through a local office of the government’s national security force and ripping down part of the building’s facade, according to a person with knowledge of the episode who asked for anonymity to discuss a security matter, The New York Times reported.
Twenty nine people were hurt, including six police officers.
The bomber got out of the car and escaped on a motorcycle right before the explosion, the person added.
The blast was felt across the capital, rousing people from sleep and disrupting late-night gatherings.
Video broadcast by CBC, an Egyptian news channel, showed the bare white security building, its windows blown out and its face shorn off with rubble in the street.
The ISIL terrorist group's Egypt affiliate said it was behind the bombing.
A statement circulated on Twitter by supporters of the group, Sinai Province, said the bomb was a reprisal for the execution of six of its members convicted of carrying out an attack north of the Egyptian capital last year.
"Let the apostates of the police and army, the followers of Jews, know we are a people who do not forget our revenge," the statement said, Reuters reported.
Egypt has grappled with a growing insurgency in the two years since the military removed President Mohamed Mursi from power. Each new attack has chipped away at Egyptians’ sense of security and claims by Mr. Sisi’s government to have gained the upper hand over the militants.
In the space of five days last month, militants based in the Sinai Peninsula and linked to the ISIL terrorist group claimed responsibility for both a car bombing in the heart of the capital and the destruction of a naval vessel off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
The bombing killed one person and destroyed part of the Italian Consulate, the group’s first attack on a foreign diplomatic mission.
On Wednesday a report by Human Rights Watch strongly criticized the Sisi government’s new antiterrorism law, enacted this week, for being “so broadly worded it could encompass civil disobedience.”
Nadim Houry, the organization’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa said that “the government has equipped itself with even greater powers to continue stamping out its critics and opponents under its vague and ever-expanding war on terrorism.”
The law was proposed after the assassination of Egypt’s top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, in a car bombing in June.