Egypt blasts kill 5 ahead of uprising's anniversary
At least four people have been killed in three explosions in Egypt’s capital Cairo, causing chaos ahead of the third anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising.
A car bomb targeted the police headquarters at 6:30am on Friday morning, while a second blast hit a metro station almost three hours later, Al Arabiya News Channel reported. A third device exploded in the Talbeya neighbourhood in Giza, witnesses told Reuters.
At least four people were killed and 54 injured in the first blast, Egypt’s health ministry said. The ministry said there were injuries but no deaths in second blast, according to AFP.
Local Al Youm7 newspaper reported that four floors of the police headquarters were destroyed but AFP said the blast destroyed a metal gate outside the multi-storey building and badly damaged its facade as well as that of a nearby Islamic museum.
Reuters witnesses heard gunfire after the explosion, while smoke was seen rising over the city center. State television quoted witnesses as saying that gunmen opened fire on buildings after the blast.
Interior Ministry spokesman Gen. Hani Abdel-Latif told the Associated Press that the first blast was caused by a car bomb that struck cement blocks placed five meters from the outside gates of the building. He declined to comment on the reports of subsequent gunfire or that the guards opened fire on the alleged suicide bomber.
Security sources also said that the bombing damaged water pipes of the National Library, close to the blast scene, which led to flooding in the building which spoiled some of the stored manuscripts.
The Egyptian interim government has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood after 15 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle at a police headquarters north of Cairo in December.
The Muslim Brotherhood has denied involvement in terrorist attacks. Later, an Al-Qaeda inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for that attack.
Bombings and shootings targeting security forces have become commonplace since Islamist President Mohammed Mursi was deposed by the army last July after mass protests against his rule.
On Thursday, masked gunmen riding motorcycles killed five Egyptian policemen in an attack on a checkpoint south of the capital Cairo, the Interior Ministry said.
The attack in the province of Beni Suef also wounded two policemen, and came two days ahead of the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising.