IS Claims Responsibility for Consulate Bombing in EgyptJuly 13, 2015 in Egypt
The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack that targeted the Italian consulate in central Cairo on Saturday. The attack has demonstrated a further escalation of violence, which suggests that militants may be opening a new front against foreigners in Egypt.
According to Egypt’s health ministry, at least one person was killed after an explosion that targeted the Italian consulate in the centre of Cairo. Security officials in the area reported Saturday that the force of the blast, which officials have indicated was caused by a car bomb, shook the building in the downtown area of the country’s capital city. A spokesman for the health ministry confirmed that one person was killed and ten others were wounded, including two policemen.
Witnesses near the area reported that the explosion caused widespread damage to the building, with a security source disclosing that preliminary investigations have indicated that the attackers placed a bomb underneath a car and remotely detonated it. While the consulate was closed at the time of the attack, the building is located at one of the busiest intersections in Cairo, a major road that connects Ramsis Square to the heart of the city.
Just hours after the attack, IS militants claimed responsibility. In a statement that was carried on a jihadist website, the group indicated “through God’s blessing, Islamic State soldiers were able to detonate a parked car bomb carrying 450 kg of explosive material on the headquarters of the Italian consulate in central Cairo.” The statement further warned “we recommend that Muslims stay clear of these security dens because they are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen’s strikes.”
Until now, IS supporters in Egypt had targeted security forces in the country, however the militant group appears to be expanding its targets. Just last month, it carried out a suicide bombing near the ancient Karnak temple in Luxor. IS’ Egyptian affiliate, which is based in Sinai, remains resilient despite increasing pressure from the country’s military. Recently, militants operating in the Sinai Peninsula have escalated bombing and shooting attacks, targeting soldiers and police officers. Two weeks ago, a car bomb killed Egypt’s top public prosecutor while militants affiliated to IS attacked several military checkpoints in North Sinai, in what was the fiercest fighting in the region in years. At the time, the army reported that seventeen soldiers and more then 100 militants were killed in those clashes. Saturday’s attack on the Italian consulate in Egypt has also highlighted IS’ expanding reach. After the militant group seized large areas of Iraq and Syria last year, they have increasingly begun to expand into Egypt’s neighbour Libya, and more recently have claimed responsibility for high-profile attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.