Bombings In Egypt; Protests ExpectedNovember 20, 2014 in Egypt
20 November 2014– Nine people have been wounded in two bombing incidents in Cairo. Five police officers were injured in an explosion targeting a police outpost near Helwan University in Southern Cairo. Reports from the interior ministry indicate that the assailants threw an incendiary explosive device (IED) from a speeding car as they approached the university.
Earlier today, four Egyptians were wounded in a stampede following a stun grenade detonation at Ramses railway station in Central Cairo. Outside of Cairo, three state transport buses were set ablaze in Sharqiya province. The buses were empty; no injuries were reported.
The series of incidents today is part of a string of attacks that have been conducted in Egypt over recent weeks. On 13 November, sixteen people were wounded when a bomb detonated near a metro train during rush hour. In early November, four people were killed in an explosion on a train carriage in Menoufiya, north of Cairo.
While no one has taken responsibility for the incidents earlier today, militant groups have been targeting security forces around the country since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Ansar Beit al Maqdis has conducted several bombings and shootings of police and military forces. The group predominantly operates in North Sinai but occasionally targets major cities in the Nile Valley. In mid-November, Ansar Beit al Maqdis announced that they had sworn allegiance to ISIS. A second militant group known as Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) also operates in Cairo and has claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting security forces.
Meanwhile, security forces have arrested a Mohammed Ali Bishr, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, now deemed a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government. Bishr’s arrest was linked to a call for demonstrations at the end of November, however the group organising the demonstrations is Salafi Front. The government has conducted heavy crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood since August 2013. The crackdown has given rise to heavy, sometimes violent protests, particularly around universities throughout the nation. Security has been tightened around universities across Egypt; protests supporting former President Morsi have increased in number since the school year began in October. In the past academic year, at least 14 students died in clashes with security forces on campus. In the wake of Bishr’s arrest, it is likely that protests will continue to rise. Heavy clashes are likely on the last Friday of November.