Bombings at Cairo University

Three bombs exploded in front of Cairo University today. The first two, targeting a police checkpoint at al-Nahda Square, went off shortly before noon in front of the university’s main gate, killing one officer and injuring four others. The officer, Brigadier General Tarek al-Mergawy, was the Director of West Giza Investigations. The two explosions collapsed part of a building, according to eyewitnesses. Two hours later the third bomb went off as emergency services were at the scene, killing Gen. Mergawy and injuring at least two others. A fourth explosive was deactivated. Fifteen students were arrested and taken to the Giza Security Directorate for questioning.

The government has not stated who is behind the attack. However, the militant group Ajnad Misr, or “Egypt’s Soldiers”, claimed responsibility and accused Gen. Mergawy of being involved in killing protesters.

Amr Darrag, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), condemned the attack and indicated the “clear failure of police forces to secure its members.” The spokesperson for Students Against the Coup (SAC), Ahmed Gamal, condemned the arrest of the fifteen students on SAC’s Facebook page, claiming, “If students wanted to follow violent tactics, they would have done this a long time ago, but peacefulness is our style and we will not be deceived.” Another statement by SAC students posted on the FJP’s Facebook page accused the Ministry of Interior of provoking violence and accusing students of violence to justify further oppression.

After an emergency meeting called by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb with the Ministers of Interior, Justice and Defense and the Intelligence Chief to discuss the bombings, the government announced that it would deploy more forces outside universities and will expedite the passing of a new anti-terrorism law that will expand the government’s ability to respond to terrorist acts.