A bomb targeted an Egyptian military intelligence building north of Cairo on
Sunday, wounding four soldiers, the army said, in the second bomb attack on the
security forces in the Nile Delta in less than a week.
The bomb went off
near an entrance to the building in the village of Anshas, 100 km.
of Cairo in Sharkiya province. It partially destroyed the back wall of the
building, the army said, describing it as a terrorist attack.
incident follows a suicide bomb attack on Tuesday on a police compound in the
Nile Delta city of Mansoura that killed 16 people. The army-backed government
has said the violence will not derail a political transition plan whose next
step is a mid-January referendum on a new constitution.
about 80 km. north of the site of Tuesday’s bombing, pointed to the
widening reach of terrorist attacks that have become commonplace since the army
deposed president Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July. Bombings
and shootings have killed around 350 police and soldiers since the coup, mostly
in Sinai, where Islamist radicals expanded into a security vacuum left by the
Hosni Mubarak’s downfall in 2011.
Security forces killed hundreds of
Morsi’s supporters in the months after his removal, and have arrested thousands
Already high political tensions escalated further with last week’s
suicide attack. The Brotherhood condemned the attack, and a radical Sinaibased
group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility, but the state declared
the Brotherhood a terrorist organization a day later. The government has
arrested several hundred of the Brotherhood’s supporters in its widening
crackdown on the group.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday that
three senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders fled Egypt through an illegal border
crossing, in a sign that the group may be changing its strategy and seeking to
run its opposition to the Egyptian government from abroad.
sources described Sunday’s bomb as an explosive device, while the state-run Nile
TV channel said it was a car bomb. Sources previously said it went off in the
town of Belbeis, near Anshas.
On Thursday, a bomb that went off near a
bus in Cairo wounded five people. That bomb appeared to be the first targeting
civilians, though there was no claim of responsibility saying what had been
Authorities said in the past few days that they had defused
several other bombs. On Sunday, police found and defused a crude homemade bomb
inside a bag left outside a university building in the Nile Delta city of
Some analysts say Egypt faces the risk of a protracted spell of
Islamist attacks, as well as civil strife fueled by friction between supporters
and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Street clashes have killed seven
people in the past three days.
Student protesters battled police for a
third day at Al-Azhar University, where the Brotherhood has rallied support in
recent months, putting the prestigious institution at the heart of its struggle
to keep its cause alive.
Students allied to the Brotherhood say they are
boycotting end-of-term exams to protest the killing of classmates by security
The government has declared itself in “a war on terror” as it
steers Egypt through a transition plan expected to yield presidential and
parliamentary elections next year.
Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who
led Morsi’s overthrow, is widely seen as the favorite to win that election,
though he has yet to declare his candidacy.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has
claimed responsibility for several major attacks since Morsi’s downfall,
including a failed attempt to assassinate the interior minister in
The group emerged in North Sinai after Mubarak’s downfall,
mounting attacks including a string of bombings targeting a pipeline used to
export gas to Israel and Jordan.
“There will be more [attacks]. I don’t
think that any factor has changed that would lessen the attacks at least in the
shortterm,” said H.A. Hellyer, a Cairo- based fellow with the Royal United
“Those that oppose the army and want to see Morsi’s
reinstatement go beyond the Muslim Brotherhood – and it is likely some
non-Brotherhood Islamists have turned to violence, including, but not
exclusively, those within the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group.”
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