|Sept. 5, 2013: Egyptian security personnel investigate the scene of a
bomb attack targeting the convoy of Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohammed
Ibrahim, in Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
The attack against Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police
force, signaled the arrival in the capital of the sort of
insurgency-style attacks that have been escalating in the Sinai
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the car bomb
explosion, which went off in the late morning as Ibrahim’s convoy passed
through Nasr City, an eastern district of Cairo.
Ibrahim survived the attack, but at least 22 people were wounded, including two policemen and a child seriously.
Osama al-Sahir, head of security in Cairo, told the state-run
Al-Ahram newspaper that the driver of the car was killed in the
“The driver of the car bomb met his end, and the investigators found
the remains of a body that are being examined,” he said, according to
Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Amr Darrag, who spoke on behalf of
the “Anti-Coup Alliance,” condemned the assassination attempt.
“The bombing allegedly targeting the minister of interior today is regrettable and the alliance strongly condemns it,” he said.
Clearly shaken but unscathed, Ibrahim said on state television that
his car, a black SUV, was directly hit by a “large-size explosive
device” that badly damaged it along with four other vehicles in the
“It was a heinous (assassination) attempt,” he later told reporters
at the Interior Ministry in central Cairo. The explosive device, he
added, likely was detonated by remote control. His comments were carried
live on state television.
“Even if I am martyred, another minister of interior will come and
continue the war on the evil terror until we secure the country,”
The blast damaged stores and several cars parked on the street and
shattered the windows of several nearby apartment buildings. The
aftermath of the blast suggested a powerful explosion, with three badly
damaged SUVs, including the minister’s, and a small raging fire. The
blast site was littered with debris, including tree branches severed by
Police were searching for suspects in the area but no arrests had
been made, security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The bombing harkened back to the insurgency waged by Islamic
militants in the 1980s and 1990s against the rule of now-ousted autocrat
Hosni Mubarak. At that time, militants targeted several senior
officials, killing the parliament speaker and nearly killing the
then-interior minister. Mubarak himself survived an assassination
attempt in 1994, when militants attacked his convoy in Addis Ababa,
Some of Morsi’s more hard-line supporters have publicly threatened to
wage a campaign of assassinations and car bombings against officials of
the military-backed government until the former president is
Gamaa Islamiya, the radical Islamist group behind the 1980s and 1990s
insurgency, said it had nothing to do with the attack, which it also
Nasr City is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist
group from which the ousted Morsi hails. It was also the site of a
sit-in protest by his supporters that was stormed by police on Aug. 14,
Ibrahim said in a television interview last week that he had received
death threats. Ibrahim was appointed to his post by Morsi and came
under sharp criticism at the time even by some in the police as too
beholden to the Islamist president. But since the coup, he has fully
embraced the new military-led leadership and has participated in a heavy
crackdown on the Brotherhood and other Islamists.
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was toppled after days
of protests by millions of Egyptians who demanded his departure after a
year in office. During the six-weeklong sit-in protest in Nasr City,
many of his supporters said they would fight the military-backed
government al-Qaida-style, with suicide bombings, roadside bombs and
Morsi has been held in an undisclosed location since his ouster.
Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders and supporters have been detained since
the coup, including the group’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, and his
powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.