CAIRO (AP): An explosion on Thursday targeted the convoy of Egypt’s interior minister in Cairo’s eastern Nasr City district, security officials and state television said. The minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, survived the attack.
The officials said it was not clear whether the late morning explosion was caused by a suicide car bombing or an explosives-laden car detonated by remote control.
Egyptian state television gave a different account of the incident. It said an explosive device was tossed from the rooftop of a high-rise apartment building near the Nasr City residence of Ibrahim, who is in charge of the country’s police force. The device detonated near the convoy of the minister shortly after it left the residence.
It was not immediately possible to reconcile the two reports. Discrepancies are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.
The security officials said the driver of one car in the convoy and six passers-by were injured in the attack, but that there were no fatalities. The blast damaged several cars parked on the street and shattered the windows of several nearby apartment buildings.
Police were searching for suspects in the area but no arrests had been made, they said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack
Nasr City is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails. It was also the site of a sit-in protest by his supporters that was stormed by police on Aug. 14, killing hundreds.
Morsi was toppled in a July 3 military coup that followed days of protests by millions of Egyptians who demanded his departure after a year in office. During the six-weeklong sit-in protest in Nasr City, many of Morsi’s supporters threatened to wage a campaign of violence against the military-backed government if he was not reinstated.
While there has been unrest and violence across Egypt since the coup, Thursday’s attack marked the first time a senior government official has been targeted.
Morsi has been held in an undisclosed location since his ouster. Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders and supporters have been detained since the coup, including the group’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, and his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater.
Thursday’s attack harked back to the insurgency waged by Islamists in the 1980s and 1990s against the rule of now-ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Then, senior government officials, including the speaker of parliament and the interior minister, were targeted. Mubarak himself survived an assassination attempt in 1994, when militants attacked his convoy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Egyptian government already is fighting a fledgling Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, a strategic region bordering Israel and Gaza.
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