Security Alert: Two Attacks in EgyptDecember 9, 2016 in Egypt
On 9 December, six policemen were killed and three injured in an explosion in the Giza district of Cairo, near the ancient pyramids. The attack appears to have specifically targeted police officers. It was the deadliest incident in Cairo since May, when Islamic State gunmen attacked a bus carrying plainclothes officers, killing eight.
Anonymous sources indicate that two bombs were placed near a mobile checkpoint in Al Haram street. The street leads to the Pyramids and is often used by tour buses. The area has been cordoned off as police search for more explosives.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident, however the acts are consistent with a relatively unknown militant group operating in Cairo called the Hassam (“Decisiveness”) Movement. In September, Haasam Movement claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on Egypt’s deputy state prosecutor.
The bombing comes days after the Interior Ministry announced the killing of three members of the Hassam Movement in southern Egypt, and weeks after they announced breaking up one of the group’s cells. Egyptian security sources say the Hassam Movement is affiliated the Muslim Brotherhood. However since 2013, the Egyptian government has been prone to attributing many militant actions to the Brotherhood, which is now banned and listed as a terrorist organisation in Egypt.
The incident occurs as Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi initiates austerity measures address a growing financial crisis. The government floated the Egyptian pound in November and cut fuel subsidies, raising the price of many necessities out of the reach of many struggling Egyptians.
While the attack does not appear to have targeted civilians or foreigners, visitors to the region are urged to remain vigilant, particularly when visiting sites popular for tourists.
A second bombing occurred later on Friday near Egypt’s Kafr el Sheikh. The bomb targeted police vehicles in the road, injuring three policemen and killing a motorist in the vicinity of the explosion.
In a statement on their website, the relatively unknown Cairo-based militant group, Hassam Movement, has claimed responsibility for the attack Giza attacks earlier in the day. It is likely they are also responsible for the second bombing.