Egypt’s political forces accuse Brotherhood of orchestrating Mansoura attack

Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Dec 2013

Egypt’s political forces accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of carrying out the Mansoura deadly attack; some criticise authorities for failing to provide security for citizens

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Emergency services worker investigate the site of a bomb attack near the Directorate of Security in Egypt's Nile Delta town of Mansoura (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s political forces blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the deadly attack on the Daqahliya security directorate in the city of Mansoura which left 13 dead and 134 injured in the early hours of Tuesday.

The liberal Free Egyptians Party condemned the Mansoura "terrorist crime," accusing the Brotherhood of standing behind the attack.

"No truce and no complacency with the Brotherhood terrorist group, in the country and beyond," the party said in a statement published on its official website.

Former presidential candidate and leading Nasserist figure Hamdeen Sabbahi said "the blood of the Mansoura martyrs invites us to unite on a comprehensive strategy to uproot terrorism."

A spokesman of Sabbahi's Popular Current group, Heba Yassin, also directly accused the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack saying "your brutal terrorism targeting the nation and its institutions will not restore your power; and the Egyptian people, whose blood you’ve made legitimate to spill, will not submit to you."

"In reality you are not facing the state only, but the entire Egyptian people," Yassin added.

Brotherhood denies charges

The Muslim Brotherhood denied any connection to the attack.

"The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice," an emailed statement from the group's London press office read.

The Mansoura attack will be used as a pretext for "a new bloodbath" [against Islamists] ahead of the referendum on the amended 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution, charged the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party on its official Facebook page.

The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has also condemned what it labeled a "criminal incident" that aims to provoke strife, asserting its peacefulness and denouncing all forms of bloodshed, reported the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party on its website.

Condemnations and pleas for peaceful solutions

The Coptic Orthodox Church also condemned the attack saying it will pray daily "for God to protect Egypt."

Meanwhile, the head of ultraconservative Salafist Al-Nour party, Younes Makhioun, condemned the attack, describing it as part of “a string of conspiracies targeting the country."

Makhioun called on the people to unite to protect “Our beloved Egypt.”

In a statement published on the party's website, Makhioun said “everyone should meet their responsibilities and work to establish a peaceful climate instead of the violent one prevailing in the country."

Al-Nour Party, a one-time ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the only Islamist party which endorsed the transitional roadmap set by the interim authorities after Morsi’s ouster.

The Liberal Constitution Party, founded by former vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei, also accused the Brotherhood of being responsible for the attack.

"While no finger of blame has yet been pointed to any specific terror group, the party calls on the Muslim Brotherhood to face its responsibilities and acknowledge its errors which have led to increased tension and confrontation with security forces," the party said in a statement.

Morsi supporters have been organising ongoing protests against the interim authorities since the ouster of Morsi on 3 July. These protests have frequently degenerated into street clashes with security forces after the government violently dispersed 2 pro-Morsi sit-in Camps in Cairo on 14 August.

Youth groups condemn and criticise government

While condemning the attack, some youth groups also accused the country’s interim authorities of failure to maintain security in the country.

"No reconciliation and no empathy with terrorism," Tamarod (Rebel) group said in a statement on Tuesday.

"No tolerance for the impotent and failing government which acts with trembling hands," added the group, which spearheaded the 30 June mass nationwide protests that led to Morsi’s ouster.

The April 6 Youth group also called for holding officials accountable for not preventing the attack.

"Those responsible for [not stopping] the attack must be held accountable for their negligence in protecting citizens and vital installations," the group’s spokesman Khaled El-Masri said in a statement Tuesday.

El-Masry added that those who are incompetent at their responsibilities should step down without delay.

In recent weeks, Egypt’s cabinet witnessed a sharp decrease in popularity, as the government has been accused by its critics of inability to solve the country’s woes.

A November poll conducted by private polling organisation Baseera showed only 58 percent of respondents said they felt safe, down from 66 percent at the end of September.

"The arrest of students, university professors, engineers, lawyers and opposition [activists] will not preserve security and will not protect the country," El-Masry said, referring to a recent state crackdown targeting secular activists who voiced their opposition to some of the government’s policies.

April 6 general coordinator Amr Ali also condemned the attack saying it underlined the "atrocity" in Egypt’s current situation.

"There is no alternative to a political solution," Ali said, referring to the country’s violent standoff between the Islamists and the interim authorities.

"Violence is on the rise, security solutions are to no avail, and the one victim remains the Egyptian citizen," Ali added.

Government vows tough action

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi vowed on Tuesday to hunt down the perpetrators of the explosion. He said the attack seeks to obstruct the roadmap drawn up by the country’s interim rulers following Morsi's July ouster

"This is an act of terrorism that aims at frightening the people and obstructing the roadmap. The black hands behind this act want to destroy the future of our country," Beblawi told Egyptian satellite channel ONTV shortly after the attack.

"The state will do its utmost to pursue the criminals who executed, planned and supported this attack," he asserted.

A bloody day entrenches deadlock

In the early hours of Tuesday, deadly blasts hit the Daqahliya Security Directorate in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura.

The explosion, which killed 13 and injured 134, appears to be the worst terrorist attack since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July.

Following the government's violent dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-in camps in mid-August which left hundreds dead, Islamist militants have stepped up their assaults against security forces, targeting police stations and security checkpoints in hit-and-run operations throughout the country. 

Morsi supporters have also allegedly assaulted churches and police stations in retaliatory attacks following the violent dispersal by security forces of two Cairo Islamist protest camps in mid-August which had left hundreds dead.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies have consistently denied any links to such attacks, they have been repeatedly accused by the authorities of implicitly encouraging them.

Since Morsi’s ouster, several initiatives have attempted to bring the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies to negotiate with the country’s interim authorities but all have failed as both camps refuse to offer any concessions.
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