Morning Blasts in CairoJune 25, 2014 in Egypt
As many as six bombs have been detonated across Cairo, resulting in at least six injuries, including injuries sustained by a potential suspect. The first three blasts occurred minutes apart at metro stations in Cairo during rush hour. Reports have indicated that a fourth explosion detonated later, injuring the sixth victim. The blasts occurred at Shubra station, Ghamra station, Haydek al-Quba Station, and Ezbet al Nakhl station.
On Facebook, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior acknowledged only two of the blasts; those at Shubra and Ghamra stations. The ministry said that the explosion at Shubra station was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), and the bomb at Ghamra station was a sonic explosive hidden in a rubbish bin. No one was injured in the Ghamra explosion. One man, considered a suspect, was wounded at the Subra station. He appeared to be carrying a homemade explosive device.
Metro services are operating normally.
Approximately an hour later, two other bombs struck near a courthouse in Heliopolis. Two IEDs were placed underneath two cars, causing damage to the vehicles but inflicting no injuries. A third IED was found in the vicinity and defused. Security forces are investigating the incidents and searching for further explosives.
The bombings are the first since President Abdul Fattah al Sisi became president in Early June. Violence and attacks targeting Egyptian security became commonplace after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July of last year. The attacks were originally concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula, a stronghold for militant groups, but gradually moved west into Nile Valley Egypt. The Egyptian government has accused the Muslim Brotherhood of supporting militant groups intent on targeting government and security forces, and in November of last year, the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, seizing assets and imprisoning large numbers of individuals accused of affiliations with the group.
While no groups have yet taken responsibility for the attacks, Sinai based extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has previously taken responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks in Egypt, including a bombing at a police station in Mansoura in December that left at least 15 dead and 134 injured. The group has stated that their violent actions are in direct relation to the actions taken against the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian government and security forces. In April 2014, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters designated Ansar Beit al-Maqdis as a terrorist organization. Nearly two weeks after their designation, on April 30, the group posted a YouTube video in which spokesman, Abu-Ahmad al-Misri says, “We have suicide bombers who could turn Egypt into a hell. Our main target is killing off al-Sisi, the Egyptian army, the apostates, and Christians of Egypt.”
Immediately after Sisi’s landslide victory, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis issued a warning: “there will be a decisive battle between faith and disbelief if al-Sisi continues to rule Egypt.” On the militant group’s Twitter feed, the group added, “Will Al-Sisi make it to rule Egypt? If he does, will he continue? It is a battle between faith and infidelity. Finally, we would like to say to tyrants, expect a catastrophe in your backyard, God willing.”
As a result of these messages, security forces have remained heighted in Cairo and other major cities. Once sources said, “Ambushes will be deployed all over Cairo and all vital facilities, which are expected to be under attack by elements of the terrorist group, will also be secured.”
Apart from Ansar Beit al Maqdis, extremist group Ajnad Misr have also been in operation in Cairo, but have fallen relatively silent in recent months. Analysts also fear that the actions could be conducted by individual extremists, or fighters returning from Syria, whose goal would be to destabilise the presidency of al-Sisi and further weaken the Egyptian economy.