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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

As the dust settles, devastation hits Mansoura after the blast

Witnesses describe scenes of destruction, grief and solidarity as 13 are killed and 134 injured by a massive blast that rocked Egypt's Nile Delta city of Mansoura early on Tuesday

Osman El Sharnoubi, Mona Basha in Mansoura, Tuesday 24 Dec 2013
Mansoura
Egyptian security and rescue officials inspect the scene of an explosion at a police headquarters building that killed at least a dozen people, wounded more than 100, and left scores buried under the rubble, in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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"This is a catastrophe," Mansoura resident and physician Khaled Abdel-Rahman told Ahram Online commenting on the blast in the Nile Delta city that killed 13 and injured over 130 in the early Tuesday hours.

Port-Said Street, one of the city's largest avenues and a lively shopping location which lies close to the Security Directorate targeted by the bombing, was entirely devastated. Dozens of shop windows and displays lie in ruins and the city theatre has completely collapsed.

"I'm at least 150 metres away from the directorate, yet broken glass from the building is cracking underneath my feet," Abdel-Rahman said, revealing the scale of the blast.

While it remains unclear whether one or more bombs caused the huge impact, the Egyptian military spokesperson mentioned that a car-bomb was involved.

Eye-witnesses told Egyptian prosecutors they had seen a truck drive into the security building's restricted parking area mere seconds before the explosion, reported Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

However, Interior Ministry explosives experts say the cause of the blast has not yet been identified with certainty.

Another eyewitness told Ahram Online a small group of men claiming to be searching for a lady fleeing her husband had attempted to enter the theatre and adjacent bank (also severely damaged by the blast) but was prevented by guards.

The eyewitness believes the commotion they stirred by trying to enter the buildings aimed to create a diversion while the bombs were discretely planted.

Along with the theatre, the City Council building also collapsed. Two of the dead were pulled out of an armoured police vehicle that was crushed under the weight of the falling debris while two others survived.

Eight among the 13 killed were police officers – several of whom senior in rank – and personnel. The attack injured Mansoura's top security official, the Daqahliya Governorate's Security Director General Sami El-Mihi, who underwent surgery as a result.

Walls ripped apart from the directorate's five-story building and mounds of rubble piled up around it.

Charred, crumpled and overturned cars were scattered around the scene as security forces, clad in armoured gear, cordoned off the immediate surroundings of the building as prosecutors and explosives experts examined them.

Efficient hospitals, public solidarity

Maged Ismail, a Mansoura local journalist, said most of the injury cases were stable and that the three city hospitals admitting the majority of the cases were well-equipped and efficient in dealing with the cases.

"The medical care is excellent and many of the injured are staying in large hospital wings," Ismail, who visited the hospitals, told Ahram Online.

Ismail said that familiar scenes in Egypt where lines of injured men and women line up dust-filled hospital corridors awaiting treatment were nowhere to be found.

Al-Ahram's Arabic website correspondent in Mansoura, Mona Basha, said so many blood donors had swarmed the hospitals that many were eventually turned away once the blood banks were filled.

Ismail told Ahram Online that thousands took to the streets to help move the dead and injured and donate blood as many victims of the explosion required surgery.

"A sense of solidarity enveloped the city," Ismail told Ahram Online.

Whether or not they were on duty, doctors from across Mansoura fled to hospitals, Abdel-Rahman – who treated some of the wounded himself – said.

Abdel-Rahman and Ismail said most of the injuries consisted of bruises and cut wounds, yet some serious injuries included concussions and internal bleeding. Dozens required emergency surgery, they concurred.

Blaming the Muslim Brotherhood

Many at the scene of the explosion were quick to lay blame on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, ousted from power in July as the protests of masses of Egyptians nationwide culminated in the military deposition of Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi.

Hundreds chanted against the group in front of the damaged building, raising a picture featuring Morsi in a red outfit (traditionally worn by inmates expecting capital punishment) with a noose around his neck. Another raised a photo of Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, perceived as the national leader behind the move to oust Morsi.

"Down with the Brotherhood, Down with Mohamed Morsi," the crowd yelled.

Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, speaking to reporters at the scene, said the Brotherhood was avenging the mid-August dispersals of their protest camps in Cairo, during which security forces killed hundreds of the group's supporters.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi vows to carry out resolute measures against anyone who jeopardises the country's stability.

Denying any connection to the attack, however, the Brotherhood condemned the explosion in a press statement from their London office, calling for an investigation and apprehension of the perpetrators of what it called "a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people."

Similar attacks have been carried out since Morsi's ouster, with the Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claiming responsibility for some of them.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis threatened on Monday the country's military and police of an escalation of violence, according a statement published on a number of Islamist militant websites.

Ismail, who spoke to the mother of an injured victim at the International Mansoura Hospital, said she lamented her son's suffering, wondering "What have we done to deserve this?"

The Daqahliya governor said the state would disburse LE4000 to each injured victim's family and LE10,000 to the families of the deceased.
 

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7



Jon
25-12-2013 03:00pm
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.. and the evidence?
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has not even a crumble of evidence that the Brotherhood is behind the terrorist act. The brotherhood, with its backing from many million Egyptians, could of course create an immediate chaos if they decided to answer the extralegal detention of its leaders and the slaughter of its members with violence. But so far, nothing suggests the brotherhood is behind any of the attacks. On the contrary, the Brotherhood has a soothing influence on the hotheads on the Islamist side. The brotherhood is a non-violent movement who wants influence through the ballot boxes in non-manipulated elections. Egyptians who want peace and democracy, even if they disagree with the brotherhood's politics, need this movement back in the mainstream.
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6



Um-Zieenab, Cairo
25-12-2013 11:21am
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Different Strategy
To prevent the terrorists from attacking, we should announce a rewards for the informants and of keeping their identity secret. This method broke up the hard rings of drug dealers and terrorists worldwide. Do it.
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5



Glenn
25-12-2013 08:49am
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Hate...
Mr.Shenoda, Copts don't hate Islam or Muslims. This is a ridiculous statement. What they hate is being targeted for being Christians. In Egypt, it just so happens the people who target them claim to be Muslim ... Pious followers of Islam. I doubt that they are either pious or Muslim except that it says it on their National ID. Blind hate and irrational suspicions and unsubstantiated claims are abound in Egypt... It is very sad... It is very dangerous... Egypt has great potential, it can once again be a brilliant star in the pages of humanity... But civility and unity must find a way... Judge individuals... Not whole groups... Copts this... Muslims that... Is not going to help Egypt... Remember all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles.
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4



Abu Saif
25-12-2013 08:33am
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The dust
The Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said, "Whoever notices something which he dislikes done by his ruler, then he should be patient, for whoever becomes separate from the company of the Muslims even for a span and then dies, he will die as those who died in the Pre-lslamic period of Ignorance (as rebellious sinners). (Fateh-Al-Bari page 112, Vol. 16)
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3



Sami
25-12-2013 03:06am
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They want to turn Egypt into Iraq
They want to turn Egypt into Iraq.
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Alex Shenoda
24-12-2013 07:39pm
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when people are excluded from political process, this is what happens.
But I think there is something inherently wrong with the way of thinking in Egypt. There is so much ignorance, cultural backwardness,poverty hatred, unwillingness to compromise, tyranny, secular fascism, hate by Copts of Islam and Muslims, rejection of the other, rejection of democracy. Also it seems the Egyptian culture is based on lying...the media in Eypt lies so much. In short, despotism seems to be the inner soul of the Egyptian nation.
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Sherif
25-12-2013 03:51am
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Have courage to use your real name
It's cowardly for you to use a Coptic pseudonym to hide the fact that you are a Muslim Brotherhood member. You are a disgrace.
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Allen
24-12-2013 07:30pm
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Now it's time to devestate the entire brotherhood.
No more tolerating the Muslim brotherhood terrorists. Hang the criminals and clean Egypt of their filth and ignorance .
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Farhan
26-12-2013 01:06pm
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Its time to kill all the fascists and Nazis like Allen
They are the reason for all the violence in world because they want to rule with guns, they don't respect democracy if they lose the elections. so they do coup for getting the power.
nura
25-12-2013 04:15pm
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The ignorance
ALLEN: you don't how organised the MB are in every aspect of life.The war is between a people with sophisticated weapons and lower moral and the people with high morale and organisation.MB are not terrorist they were branded as terrorist because the Coup plotters can not fight them.
Morgan
25-12-2013 12:34pm
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Albert can't count very good
Albert's figure is totally invented. The entire population of Egypt is about 83M; the MB only constitutes 500,000 to 1M at the most. Threats of "they will get you." like Albert makes is typical of the MB who say they are peaceful while their actions prove the opposite.
John
25-12-2013 11:39am
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"devestate" "devestate" HA HA
ignoramus Allen revealed. Trashing others and labeling them ignorant for simple typos......to cover up your own ignorance. Remember if point a finger at others then three fingers are pointing at yourself, so start with yourself first.
very etc
25-12-2013 05:35am
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who is listening
You are right but who is listening ???
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Egyptian
25-12-2013 04:00am
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Not really.
Egyptian brotherhood is around 5 million, then theres hamas (Palestine brotherhood) which is maybe 1 million. Im not sure as to how many are in Turkey. Most Egyptians if not all by now do not tolerate the brotherhood and their extremism anymore.
Albert
24-12-2013 10:00pm
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They will get you
The Brotherhood are 80 million. They will "devastate" you before you devastate them. By the way, what happened to you good English?
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