Fatal explosions hit Cairo amid Egyptian turmoil

January 29th, 2014

Four deadly bombings aimed at police in high profile areas throughout Cairo, Egypt resulted in the deaths of six people, including four policemen, and injured 70 people on Friday, Jan. 24.


Following the bombings, there were fears of increased militant insurgency of retaliation by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.


Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a young Islamist militant group, has not claimed responsibility for this attack, but has been the cause of previous attacks.


In a statement, the government vowed to “uproot it once again” and “show neither pity nor mercy,” referencing militant Islamist insurgency from the 1990s.


For many, the event, leading up to the three year anniversary of Egypt’s revolution, is a harsh realization that terrorism and repression in Egypt is far from over as both sides fight to the death for control of Egypt’s government.


“The timing is a message that the third anniversary of the revolution will not be a celebration; they want to color it with blood,” said Moataz Abdel-Fattah, a political scientist at the American University of Cairo.

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt

According to The New York Times, the United States strongly condemns these acts and encourages all sides in Egypt to end the use of violence as it will only hurt Egypt’s political and economic stability, as Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said.


Originally, the Muslim Brotherhood was immediately blamed both by state television commentators and demonstrators. The Brotherhood responded in a statement saying that it “strongly condemns the cowardly bombings in Cairo, expresses condolences to the families of those killed” and “demands swift investigations.”


Almost immediately after the attacks, supporters of General Sisi, the ouster of Morsi, gathered to wave Egyptian flags and hold signs of pictures of Sisi, according to The Associated Press.


Meanwhile, just half a block away, a police officer, also holding an Egyptian flag, addressed a small crowd and television cameras in front of the damaged security headquarters.


“We are here for you, we will sacrifice our souls for you, we are here for this,” he said in reference to the flag. “They are martyrs, too,” he said while pointing at fellow officers.


The bombings occurred despite increased security in anticipation of the anniversary of the revolution, Saturday, Jan. 25. Train access from southern Egypt had already been cut off because of the strong Islamist support. In addition, heavily armed checkpoints were set up around the city. However, neither was enough to prevent this attack.


According to NBC News, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has been found to quote leaders of al-Qaida, who were inspired by an ideology from Egyptian jails during previous crackdowns on Islamists by Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Hosni Mubarak.  So, if the group is responsible, then a militant strand of Islamist radicalism will have come full circle.


Editor’s Note: Information from The New York Times, The Associated Press and NBC News was used in this report.