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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Terrorist Explosion in Cairo

This was just on the news: A bomb went off sometimes around 6:30 pm (an hour ago) near Al-Azhar in Cairo, killing one French Tourist , while estimating the injured to be somewhere between 7 and 12 French and Egyptians. No one knows who is behind it so far and no one took responsibility for it. There are conflicting eye witness reports about someone on a motorcycle throwing the bomb but nothing is confirmed yet. Naturally The Egyptian state control media is not reporting any of this and I have to get all this info through watching Al Jazeerah. There are 3 possible explanations so far as far as I am concerned : 1) It's Al Qaeda or some foreign terrorist group trying to disrupt the currently fragile situation. 2) The Muslim Brotherhood and Gammat Islameyah are back to their old tricks hoping to make the government look bad before the elections. 3) The government planned this explosion in order to have an excuse to crack down on the MB before the elections without drawing the ire of the international community. I will update you on this later on, but it seems that Egypt is now in the same boat with Iraq, Saudi, Lebanon, Israel and Qatar. The situation in Egypt has been boiling for a while now and people were predicting that it would explode soon. It seems like they were right! As my father said while watching the news with me: "It has Begun!" Update: They are now saying on Al jazeerah that there are up to 18 injured. This just keeps getting better and better. Update: The Egyptian state TV did a rare thing and actually covered the news about the attack. The report confirmed the death of the french tourist and mentioned that there was another casualty, an American named "Michael". They also said that there was a total of 18 injured, 3 French, 3 Americans, One Turkish, One Italian and the rest all Egyptians. Update: Ok, now things are getting a bit confusing. According to this AP piece,the number of the wounded is 20, and the second body seems to have belonged to the bomber. There is no mentioning of an American casualty named Michael anywhere. And apparently they got the whole Italian toruist injured thing all wrong as well: The dead included a French woman, and 11 Egyptians and nine foreigners were wounded, said Brig. Gen. Nabil al-Azabi, head of security in Cairo. He said the second person killed may have been the bomber. Many of the wounded had severe wounds from nails packed in the bomb, doctors said. Among the wounded foreigners were three Americans, four French, and a Turk, the Interior Ministry said. The ministry said there was also a wounded Italian, but Italian diplomats leaving the hospital later said there were no Italians among the casualties and had no explanation for the discrepancy. But according to Al Jazeerah , there was 4 dead: An earlier Egyptian Interior Ministry statement said four people had been killed and the wounded - four French, three Americans, an Italian, a Turk and nine Egyptians - were taken to hospital where the French woman died. Reuters on the other hand tells a different story: They say that only 16 got wounded and none of them were Italian nor Turkish. Only Egyptians, French and Americans. They also have a theory by their political analyst of what may have caused this: A political analyst said a recent string of attacks in Egypt appeared to be against foreigners rather than the tourism industry, which Islamist militant targeted in Egypt in the 1990s. "What happened today was against foreigners and not against tourism. It's very close to what happened in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait and in Qatar," said Dia Rashwan, referring to attacks in recent months attributed to Islamist militants in Arab Gulf states. "The central event is the Iraqi occupation ... the side effects are what happened now in Cairo," he said. Million of tourists who visit Egypt every year to see Pharaonic sites and holiday at Red Sea resorts provide the country with a main source of hard currency. Officials often point out that Egypt is safer than many of its neighbours. An Egyptian man stabbed and wounded two Hungarian tourists in central Cairo last month in what police said was revenge for Western policies towards Iraqis and Palestinians. I am not sure i buy this theory, but now you can say bye-bye to western Tourism for a while. No one knows still what caused this or who is behind it or what their purpose was; hell they can't even agree on the nationalities and numbers of the victims. I guess we will know more tomorrow.


At 4/07/2005 11:05:00 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

Sandmonkey I was just going to send you an email and to MAgdee to check you're safe, glad you blogged, as I just saw the headlines on the BBC. Now I gotta go and check on my cousins who are in Cairo for a visit :( hope they're fine ...

At 4/07/2005 12:11:00 PM, Blogger haal said...

please dont jump to conclusions, blame it on this or that. hold ur horses and dont get driven by thinking u know what is happening. all of us suddenly became analysts. we dont do anything better than prediction... 'it has begun.'.... ay kalam!!!

At 4/07/2005 02:22:00 PM, Blogger AlanK said...

Well that will make me think twice about heading to Egypt had been considering it

also hope this is just a one off not the beginning of a series of attacks

At 4/07/2005 03:20:00 PM, Blogger Twosret said...


Glad you are fine. Please stay safe.


At 4/07/2005 06:28:00 PM, Anonymous Harbinger said...

What really gets on your nerves is the ability of Al Ahram to post the news in just seven lines, way deep in the news!! grrr.

At 4/07/2005 09:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope this is not the start of something awful. Stay safe on the streets and the net Bigmonkey. Three cheers for BigPapi.

Footnote: One of your posts about Americans was a good read, you would probably enjoy David Brooks book "Paradise Drive".

At 4/07/2005 09:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where the hell is my editor?


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