Egyptian interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim survives car bombing
At least 22 people reported wounded in car bomb attack, biggest yet on military government
The Egyptian interior minister survived an assassination attempt unscathed yesterday when a car bomb blew up his convoy. He said afterwards that a wave of terrorism by opponents of the military-installed government was just beginning.
The minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, has overseen a violent crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Mursi, the elected Islamist president who was overthrown two months ago by the army following mass protests against his rule.
No organisation immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the biggest yet on the new government.
Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood - accused by the government of terrorism and inciting violence - condemned it.
"What happened today is not the end but the beginning," Ibrahim said.
The head of Cairo security, Osama al-Saghir , said the ambush began seconds after Ibrahim left his house in the capital's Nasr City on his way to work. A car driving ahead of the convoy exploded and the minister's armoured car also came under heavy gunfire, Saghir told the newspaper Al-Ahram.
"The driver of the car bomb met his end, and the investigators found the remains of another body that are being examined," he said.
Senior Brotherhood leader Amr Darrag issued a statement on behalf of the Brotherhood-led Anti-Coup Alliance saying it strongly condemned the attack.
Mursi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president, was overthrown on July 3.The new authorities have imposed a state of emergency and nightly curfews.
Ibrahim said this week he had been informed of plans to kill him and that "foreign elements" were involved. Armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had supplied him with an armoured car, he said.
There were conflicting reports about the nature of Thursday's attack. Security sources said three bombs planted inside a motorcycle had detonated as Ibrahim's convoy passed by. State TV reported a bomb had been thrown from a roof.
Ibrahim said the "despicable attempt" on his life had destroyed four of his bodyguards' vehicles. He said one police officer was in critical condition and that another officer and a small child had lost legs.
"Many of my guards were injured," he said, adding that investigations had shown the blast had been detonated remotely.
State media said 22 people had been wounded in all.
Security forces quickly sealed off the area, where blood and pieces of flesh were scattered on the ground amid the charred wreckage of several cars.
"I was standing by a kiosk when police officers came and told me to make way as the minister's convoy passed. I moved a few inches, then I heard a huge explosion," said local resident Mohamed Raafat.
"I looked behind and I saw remains of dead bodies and was told that a car that was parking had exploded near the convoy."
Gamaa Islamiya, a group involved in attacks in the 1990s that has since renounced violence, denied any link into yesterday's attack.
"These are new, small, unknown networks, independent of any organisation," said Kamal Habib, an expert on Islamist groups. "This was expected. We said it a million times."