By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
GIZA, EGYPT (ANS – Jan. 22, 2016) — At least nine people, including six policemen, have been killed in a bomb explosion during a raid on a militant hideout in in the Cairo suburb of Giza, located on a road leading to the world famous Pyramids.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement the building was booby-trapped and the device went off when they tried to defuse it on Thursday (January 21, 2016). More than 13 others were injured, including the local police chief.
The BBC said that Security sources say the blast went off as officers raided an apartment in Giza.
“The government has tightened security ahead of next week’s fifth anniversary of the uprising that removed long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,” stated the BBC.
The so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS, said it was behind the blast, while Egyptian authorities blamed the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement of former President Mohammed Morsi.
“Police had information that a group of Muslim Brotherhood members were preparing to carry out aggressive acts in the coming days using explosives and crude bombs,” the interior ministry said on its Facebook page.
“This group was using an apartment in a Cairo building, and on Thursday night the police raided this apartment where they found a number of crude bombs.
“When the bomb squad experts were dealing with one of the bombs, it exploded.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement in violence and says it is committed to peaceful activism.
One Giza resident, Khaled, said: “When the bomb exploded, it also destroyed parts of the building behind it. We saw a man who was blown up in his bed.
“I then looked at the other side. I found body parts all over the ground.”
Another resident, identified as Umm Sameh, whose home was damaged in the blast said: “No-one in the neighbourhood knew that they were terrorists. Had we known, we wouldn’t have left them alone.
“The building is still new. The residents have only been here for six months at the most. So, we really didn’t know them.”
The Daily Mail is reporting that Islamist militants have stepped up attacks on Egyptian soldiers and police since the army toppled Morsi in 2013, following mass protests against his rule.
“The neighbourhood of Al-Haram has witnessed several attacks and gunfights since the overthrow,” it said.
“It is known to house many of Morsi’s sympathizers and used to be a regular venue for clashes between his supporters and security forces in the aftermath of his ouster by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.”
The district also houses several hotels frequented by tourists visiting Cairo, given its proximity to the pyramids.
The explosion on Thursday came ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Security forces have questioned residents and searched more than 5,000 homes in central Cairo as a “precautionary measure” to prevent street protests on the anniversary, security officials said on Thursday.
The Cairo bombing comes after gunmen killed five policemen late Wednesday (January 20, 2016) when they attacked a checkpoint in the North Sinai town of Al-Arish.
The Islamic State Group’s Egyptian affiliate, the Sinai Province, claimed that attack.
Photo captions: 1) The blast in Giza left rubble strewn across roads (AFP). 2) Security forces detain an unidentified man at the scene of a bomb blast in a main street in Giza, Egypt. (Reuters). 3) Dan Wooding pictured with broadcaster, Norm Nelson, at the Pyramids.
About the writer: Dan Wooding is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California, and has reported widely for ANS from various parts of the world, including several times from Egypt.
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