Car bomb wounds 6 Egyptian policemen in Cairo
20 August 2015, 08:09
Cairo - A car bomb wounded six Egyptian
policemen on Thursday as it exploded in front of a police building in Cairo,
the interior ministry said, the latest in a wave of militant attacks that has
The powerful blast in northern Cairo's
district of Shubra came in the middle of the night, an AFP journalist said, as
Egyptian security forces are being targeted by Islamic State jihadists waging
an Islamist insurgency.
"A man suddenly stopped his car in
front of the state security building, jumped out of it and fled on a motorbike
that followed the car," the ministry statement said.
"The car exploded wounding six
Earlier a security official told AFP that
"an attack targeted a state security building".
"The explosion partially destroyed the
building," said a colleague on condition of anonymity.
The bombing came just days after President
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified an anti-terrorism law which critics claim gives
wider powers to police, restricts human rights and muzzles the press.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for
Thursday's attack, but the "Sinai Province", the Egyptian branch of
the Islamic State group, regularly carries out attacks on security services as
part of an insurgency that has swelled since the army's ousting of president
Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
Jihadists say their attacks are in
retaliation for a police crackdown targeting Morsi supporters that has left
hundreds dead and thousands jailed.
Hundreds more have been sentenced to death
after speedy trials, denounced by the United Nations as
"unprecedented" in recent history.
New anti-terror law
Thursday's blast comes weeks after the
Islamic State claimed a car bomb attack targeting the Italian consulate in
downtown Cairo on July 11, which left a passer-by dead.
That attack was the first such targeting a
foreign mission in Egypt since the jihadists began their campaign against
security forces two years ago.
The consulate bombing was followed by the
abduction and apparent beheading of Croatian engineer Tomislav Salopek, which
the Sinai Province group claimed on August 13.
Experts said the group appeared to have
changed its strategy in its fight against the Egyptian authorities.
After launching spectacular attacks
targeting security forces in its bastion in North Sinai in the past two years,
the group is now adopting tactics similar to the main IS group in Iraq and
Syria - abducting and beheading foreigners.
Salopek's abduction appeared aimed at
threatening tourists and foreign employees of Western firms - two cornerstones
of an economy battered by years of political unrest since the 2011 uprising
that ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.
Faced with the deadly jihadist insurgency,
Sisi ratified on Sunday an anti-terrorism law boosting police and judicial
powers. It also imposes hefty fines for "false" media reports on militant
Rights groups, which have accused Sisi of
imposing a repressive regime, fear the new law could be used to further muzzle
dissent and target critics.
The passing of the law was expedited after
state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was assassinated in a car bombing in June,
followed by a large-scale jihadist attack in the Sinai Peninsula days later.
The judiciary and security forces already
had wide-ranging powers in tackling "terrorism", and Sisi's regime
has been accused of using the battle against jihadists as a pretext for
The law "increases authorities' power
to impose heavy sentences, including the death penalty, for crimes under a definition
of terrorism that is so broadly worded it could encompass civil
disobedience," Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
But the foreign ministry hit back at these
criticisms, insisting that other countries should "respect the
independence of the [Egyptian] judiciary".