Egypt’s Interior Minister Survives Attack
CAIRO - Egyptian security officials said that the country's interior minister survived an assassination attempt on Thursday after an explosive device detonated near his convoy. The powerful explosion, which damaged buildings and left cars burning on a residential street, marked a sharp escalation of the violence in Egypt's two-month old political crisis.
Interior Ministry officials said that a preliminary investigation found that the explosion came from a motorcycle laden with at last three improvised explosive devices that were detonated by remote control. The explosion occurred soon after the minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, left his house on Thursday morning in a convoy of cars. At least one police conscript was killed in the blast, security officials said, and at least six people, including five of the minister's guards, were injured.
Mr. Ibrahim, who was unharmed, avoided the explosion by 'seconds,' an Interior Ministry official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion.
On a wide boulevard in the Nasr City neighborhood where the bombing occurred, a mangled motorcycle lay next to damaged facades of two buildings. Three cars were destroyed in the explosion and at least seven others were badly damaged. A white Nissan was pockmarked with holes from what may have been bullets or shrapnel. Fifty yards away, the blast shattered the refrigerator glass in small kiosks.
If confirmed, the bombing would be the first attack on a senior government official since July, when former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military, setting off violent confrontations between the security forces and Mr. Morsi's Islamist supporters. The Egyptian stock market did not react to the news, apparently having anticipated such flashes of violence.
The military and the police have killed more than a thousand protesters as part of a widening crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most prominent Islamist movement. Thousands more Brotherhood leaders and members, including Mr. Morsi, have been arrested and jailed. As the repression of the Islamists has intensified, worries have grown that militants angry at the ouster of Mr. Morsi would turn to violence against the state.
After the bombing, Mr. Ibrahim was quoted as saying that the attack marked the beginning of a new wave of terrorism, according to Reuters.