Huge IS car bomb hits Cairo security building, wounds 29
A massive car bomb claimed by Islamic State militants ripped into a national security building in a residential neighborhood in Cairo early Thursday, wounding at least 29 people and blowing the facades off nearby buildings.
The blast, which went off around 2 a.m., demolished a wall in front of the government building, smashed its structure and left gaping holes exposing its offices. Of those hurt, 11 were police and soldiers. No deaths were reported.
Authorities said high-powered explosives were used in the blast, which was heard and felt across the city.
Glass from blown-out windows littered the surrounding streets in the Shubra el-Kheima neighborhood, at the northern entrance to the capital. Security forces with assault rifles set up roadblocks to ward off hysterical residents and onlookers. A crater marked the blast’s apparent position, while the engine of the car apparently used in the attack landed on other side of the street.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the car bombing, saying on its Al-Bayan radio station that “soldiers of the caliphate” had carried it out. A statement issued by their affiliate in Egypt and circulated by supporters online said it was to avenge the execution of six convicted militants in May.
The men were sentenced by a military court in proceedings heavily criticized by human rights organizations, some of whom pointed out that three of the defendants were already in detention when they allegedly carried out attacks.
A similar claim of responsibility emerged last month following a bombing outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo.
Egypt has seen a surge of assaults on security forces since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Previous large-scale attacks have been claimed by an Islamic State affiliate based in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
Inside his ruined clinic next door to the security building, plastic surgeon Gawad Mahmoud lamented Egypt’s troubles since the military ousted Morsi, the country’s first free- ly elected president, amid massive protests against his divisive yearlong rule.
“We were here painting the office, and then it went off. It was like an earthquake, it blew the doors off and smashed all the windows in,” he said. “We are not living in a normal state here.”
Access to the area was highly restricted, even in the minutes following the blast, with dozens of policemen, plainclothes and uniformed, discouraging any approach. At the site, press credentials of the few foreign journalists who managed to arrive were checked repeatedly by authorities.
An Egyptian policeman runs past some of the remains of a car which exploded in front of a national security building in northern Cairo’s district of Shubra, Thursday, Aug. 20.