At least 23 people, including six policemen, were injured on Thursday in a blast in Egypt.
There are no confirmed dead.
A massive vehicle bomb explosion took place Thursday targeting a national security building in Shubra el Khaima in the Qalioubiya province near Cairo. “I was on my way back from work, driving my vehicle over a bridge”.
Emergency aid head Ahmed al-Ansari said the six wounded were being evacuated to nearby hospitals.
Militants based in the Sinai, who support Islamic State (ISIS) that controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria and have a presence in Egypt’s neighbour Libya, have previously claimed responsibility for attacks on security forces.
In a bid to counter deadly attacks, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a tough counter terrorism law, which vests Egyptian authorities with stronger surveillance and detention powers. Sinai Province, Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate, said it was behind the bombing. A statement issued by the IS Egypt affiliate and circulated by supporters online said it was to avenge the execution of six convicted militants in May. Egypt claimed to have killed more than 100 militants in repelling the assault, and acknowledged the deaths of just 21 troops, though several news reports at the time put the military toll at about three times that.
The Guardian notes that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has been waging an ongoing campaign against Egypt’s police and security forces, attacking their buildings in Cairo and Mansoura in recent years. The Sinai region has been in the grip of a full-blown insurgency since democratically elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military two years ago, but violence has also spread to Cairo. Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram writes that the blast “caused severe damage to the four-storey building and tore down part of its perimeter wall”.
The bombing of the Italian consulate was followed by abduction of Tomislav Salopek, a Croatian engineer, who the IS claim to have beheaded in a statement released earlier this month.
The new law also includes punishments for journalists who go against the official version of an attack, threatening them with fines of between $25,000 and $64,000.
Rights groups, which have accused Sisi of imposing a repressive regime, fear the new law could be used to further muzzle dissent and target critics.