Bomb blast misses Egypt's Alexandria security director; two policemen killed

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Mar 2018

Saturday’s assassination attempt is the first against a security official since late 2016

Egyptian forensics check a destroyed vehicle at the site of a bomb attack in the northern port city of Alexandria, which hit a convoy of the city's security chief, on March 24, 2018. (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's Alexandria security directorate announced on Saturday that the death toll from the bombing in Alexandria earlier today – which unsuccessfully targeted the city’s security director – has risen to two policemen, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The interior ministry said in a statement that an improvised explosive device placed under a car detonated as security director Mostafa El-Nemr’s convoy was passing in El-Moaskar El-Romany Street.

El-Nemr was unharmed in the attack.

The two policemen who died in the attack were 45-year-old Aly Galal and 19-year-old Abdalla Mohamed Abdallah.

Another five policemen were injured in the attack, including three of El-Nemr’s bodyguards, according to Al-Ahram.   

The minister of interior has visited the site of the attack, which he described as "a desperate attempt to disrupt the security and stability of the country," according to a statement by the ministry.

Egypt’s prosecutor-general Nabil Sadek has ordered that the High State Security and Sidi Gaber prosecution inspect the scene and take statements from the injured.

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail condemned the attack in a statement issued by the cabinet.

"These desperate attempts by terrorist powers and the countries that support them aim to affect the positive atmosphere that Egypt is witnessing, which will only increase the determination of the Egyptian state to continue on its political path and economic programme, and will not hold Egyptians back from continuing the democratic process and development efforts," the statement said.

The attack comes days before Egypt is set to hold the 2018 presidential elections, which will take place from Monday to Wednesday.

Egypt's interior ministry and army have been beefing up security nationwide ahead of the elections, where incumbent President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is facing the head of the Ghad Party Moussa Moustafa Moussa.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the Alexandria attack.

Saturday’s assassination attempt is the first against a security official since end of 2016, which witnessed a number of attacks that included a failed assassination attempt on a senior judicial official in September 2016, and the October 2016 assassination of an army brigadier general who had previously served in North Sinai, where the army’s war against terrorism is concentrated.

It is also the first major attack in the Mediterranean city since the April 2017 bombing of St Mark's Cathedral, which killed 18 people during Palm Sunday celebrations.

Egypt has recently witnessed a number of deadly terrorist attacks on civilians, the deadliest being an attack on worshippers at a North Sinai mosque in November 2017, which killed more than 300 people.

Nearly a month later, two gunmen killed nine people at the Mar Mina Church in Helwan, southern Cairo ahead of Coptic Christian celebrations in December.

Egypt launched Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 on 9 February, which targets “terrorist and criminal elements” and organisations in northern and central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.

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