Two bombs strike Cairo, at least 4 dead

Agence France-Presse

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An Al-Qaeda inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the car bombing

CAR BOMB. State media said a car bomb struck the Cairo police headquarters

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CAIRO, Egypt (3RD UPDATE) – A car bomb struck Cairo police headquarters, killing at least 4 people while a second blast near a Cairo station wounded around 15 people on Friday, January 24.

The police HQ explosion sent a large plume of smoke billowing above the city and left a deep crater in the street, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported.

The attack came a day before police were to deploy across the capital for the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, with Islamists calling for mass protests against the new regime.

“It was a car bomb,” interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif told the Agence France-Presse

The health ministry said at least 4 people were killed and 51 wounded in the explosion.

A witness who lives in an apartment about 200 meters (yards) from the police building said he had been woken up by the explosion at around 6:15 am (0415 GMT, 12:15 pm Philippine time).

“My building shook,” Yahya Attiya said.

It was not immediately clear how the car bomb was brought so close to the police headquarters, which is surrounded by a high metal fence that was partially destroyed in the blast.

The explosion left a large crater at the gate, and badly damaged the building’s facade as well as that of a nearby Islamic museum.

Riot police pushed back hundreds of onlookers, some of whom chanted slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood.

State media reported a second explosion some hours later, which wounded 15 and killed at least one person near a Cairo metro station. Egypt’s health ministry has reported injuries but no deaths

Militants have escalated attacks since the military overthrow Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has denied involvement in the attacks, but was blacklisted as a terrorist group after 15 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle at a police headquarters north of Cairo in December.

An Al-Qaeda inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the police headquarters attack.

The Brotherhoood has called for protests starting on Friday to mark the January 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, accusing the military-backed government of continuing autocratic rule.

The country has been deeply divided since Morsi’s overthrow, between his Islamist supporters and backers of the military which accuses the Brotherhood of terrorism.

“I can now call the Muslim Brotherhood the terrorist Brotherhood,” said Attiya, as he looked at the wreckage outside the police headquarters.

“They should all be executed,” he said.

Others in the crowd near the bomb site carried Egyptian flags and some held up posters of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who overthrew Morsi.

The Brotherhood had condemned previous attacks against the police and army since Morsi’s overthrow.

Scores of soldiers and police have been killed in the restive Sinai Peninsula and militants in the desert region have begun to expand their operations to densely populated areas of the rest of the country.

On Thursday, masked assailants on motorbikes gunned down five policemen at a checkpoint south of Cairo.

There have also been several bombings in Cairo, including a failed assassination attempt against the interior minister in September, weeks after policemen killed hundreds of Islamist demonstrators in clashes at a protest camp.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in street clashes since Morsi’s overthrow.

Thousands more have been jailed, including Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders. –

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