Sat, 24 Mar 2018 - 05:51 GMT
State TV reported that the improvised explosive device (IED) targeted Alexandria’s security chief, police Major General Mostafa al-Nemr on Saturday – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain
CAIRO – 24 March 2018: A bomb planted under a car exploded in central Alexandria on Saturday, killing two policemen and injuring six others.
State TV reported that the improvised explosive device (IED) targeted Alexandria’s security chief, police Major General Mostafa al-Nemr.
The explosion took place two days ahead of Egypt’s 2018 presidential election.
The IED, which was detonated in Al Moaaskar Al Romani st. in Sidi Gaber neighborhood, terrorized citizens in the area and smashed and shattered the windows of some buildings and damaged some vehicles nearby, according to eyewitnesses.
Eyewitnesses also confirmed that security forces arrived rapidly to the scene to contain the situation and secure the parameters.
The explosion was caused by an explosive device that weighed 8 kg of high explosive material that were planted under a car parked in front of a hotel; it was detonated as Nemr’s convoy was passing.
The explosion is the first major terrorist operation in Alexandria since April 2017’s bombing of St. Mark’s Cathedral, which claimed the lives of 18 people during Palm Sunday.
Police sergeant Ali Galal was identified as one of the victims killed due to the explosion.
Forensics arrived at the scene for inspection, also, security cameras surrounding the area were seized for data extraction as a preliminary step towards identifying suspects.
High-ranked security officials also arrived to lead security squads and follow the investigation into the incident.
At least seven fully-equipped ambulances were dispatched to the scene to transfer the casualties to Mostafa Kamel Hospital for Armed Forces, around 1.2 km away.
Bomb disposal specialists have scouted the area to secure it using robots, police dogs and state-of-art equipment.
Police and military personnel formed a cordon around the scene of the explosion, while Nemr, who was the target, appeared in a state TV report unharmed and inspecting the area himself.
For his part, Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadek ordered the High State Security and Sidi Gaber prosecution to open an urgent investigation into the incident.
Egypt's interior ministry and armed forces have been raising up the security state nationwide ahead of the elections, where incumbent President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is running for a second term in office, against Ghad Party’s Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion; however, the Islamic State (IS) warned on February against taking part at the presidential election.
In Dec. 2017, IS claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on Egypt’s defense and interior ministers during a visit to the Sinai Peninsula.
On the contrary, the way Egyptian perceived the incident is that it strengthened their will to participate in the election, due to next Monday.
A number of citizens decided to demonstrate at the site of the explosion to stress their participation in the election despite any threats.
As they spoke to the press, citizens affirmed “this is not going to affect the electoral process.”
Al-Azhar strongly condemned the terrorist attack that targeted the security chief’s motorcade; in a statement, Al-Azhar stressed that the assault is a criminal act as it aims at intimidating innocent people and spreading chaos.
The great Islamic edifice urged the Egyptian people to support the State institutions topped by the Armed Forces and the police in order to uproot terrorism.
The UAE condemned the bomb attack in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
the UAE strongly condemns this cowardly and criminal act of terrorism aimed at undermining the security and stability of Egypt, adding the attack is contrary to all religious and humanitarian values and principles.
The statement also renewed the UAE's solidarity and stand with Egypt's leadership, government and people.
Moreover, Bahrain also condemned the attack; the Bahraini Foriegn Ministry issued a statement extending sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
It also affirmed Bahrain’s solidarity with Egypt, backing all the measures to restore security and stability throughout the country.
Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar condemned the incident and stressed that it only shows that terrorism is falling down and is catching its last breath.
“Such coward and evil deeds will only get our will and determination stronger, we are armed with our faith in God and the nation,” Mokhtar added.
The US Embassy in Cairo also condemned the attack; "The U.S. reaffirms commitment to stand with Egypt in the battle against terrorism," the embassy said on its official Facebook account.
The embassy also extended condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wished the wounded a speedy recovery.
Also, the British ambassador to Egypt John Casson expressed the United Kingdom's condemnation to the attack.
"The United Kingdom condemns the car bombing today in #Alexandria and stands by Egypt in the fight against terrorism," Casson tweeted on Saturday.
The United Kingdom condemns the car bombing today in #Alexandria and stands by Egypt in the fight against terrorism.— British Amb in Egypt (@FCOJohnCasson) March 24, 2018
Egypt’s cabinet strongly deplored the incident and pointed out that such crimes show how much their perpetrators hate whatever is good for the sake of the country and its future.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail stressed that such “desperate” attempts will only boost Egypt’s determination to continue its path and follow its economy program.
“Egypt’s police and armed forces will not settle unless terrorism is completely eradicated from this good land and until security and safety are retrieved,” Ismail said.
For his part, interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar deemed the incident as a “desperate attempt to destabilize Egypt’s safety and stability and break the will of Egyptians.” “Egypt is going the right track in encountering terrorism, these coward actions will not defeat our determination to eliminate terrorism.”
Alexandria governor Mohamed Soltan told Egypt Today that the state will pin down whoever is behind this incident. He pointed out that investigation authorities are collaborating to speed up identifying the perpetrators and punish them.
“We will not relent in protecting citizens,” Soltan said. “I am positive that Egyptians do not fear such terror operations, as they will not weaken their determination to vote in the election.”
The minister further stressed that Egypt’s authorities will severely deter whoever tries to threaten the state security and stability.
“We are operating normally and have taken a series of procedures to secure vital and government establishments in Alexandria,” Soltan added. “The occurrence of such acts does not necessarily mean a security breach or any kind of dereliction, however, our proactive strikes made these terrorists so desperate that they started terrorizing civilians.”