On early Friday morning, 6 policemen were killed and another 6 were injured by two roadside bombings in a single day in Cairo and in Northern Egypt.
Cairo’s attack occurred in the western Talibiya neighborhood, shortly before Friday prayers and when the city’s streets are mostly empty. The attacks come as the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi faces an insurgency waged by Islamist groups.
The bombing, near a mosque on a wide avenue often used by tour buses, hit a police checkpoint, smashing several cars and blowing the windows out of police SUVs. Gravel, debris, and leaves littered the ground, as investigators inspected the area and masked troops stood guard with automatic weapons.
Eyewitness Ahmed Al-Deeb described a scene of carnage, with dead and dying policemen lying next to wrecked cars. One of the policemen had blast fragments in his chest and two more had lost legs, he said.
“We heard the blast and rushed to the scene and found police vehicles damaged,” said Abdel Hamid Abdulla, who was nearby. “We saw some police were injured, and some of their legs had been cut off,” he said.
The explosive device was planted in a car parked next to a security checkpoint near Al-Salam mosque in Haram Street. The device was detonated remotely. A security official said the bomb was exploded during a security patrol.
The interior ministry’s statement said that the blast killed two police officers, a low-ranking policeman and three conscripts. The injured were transferred into hospital. Police cordoned off the area with yellow tape.
A recently emerged Egyptian militants group claimed the responsibility for the attack in Cairo that causes the deaths and the 3 injuries. The Hasm Movement, which has claimed several attacks in Egypt in recent months, said it set off the bomb which also injured four civilians.
“There is no safety or security for you as long as we hold our weapons in jihad for God, there is either victory or martyrdom,” the group said in a statement posted online.
The group has claimed previous attacks in Cairo, including a shooting against the country’s former chief Muslim theologian and a car bomb against the chief prosecutor’s deputy. Both escaped unhurt though.
The second attack came on Friday evening in the Kafr El Sheikh governorate in the Nile Delta, where a roadside bomb killed a civilian and injured 3 policemen. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The bomb was detonated remotely as a police car drove by, but it exploded seconds after the vehicle passed, sparing the lives of the officers.
Facebook activated a safety check feature for users living near the site of the blast, allowing them to let family and friends know that they are okay. This is the first time the feature has been activated in Egypt.