An Egyptian man stands amid rubble after an explosion Friday at the Egyptian police headquarters in downtown Cairo. Three bombings hit high-profile areas around Cairo, including a suicide car bomber who struck the police headquarters. (Khalil Hamra / AP)
Cairo— A truck bomb blasted the main security headquarters in Cairo on Friday, one of a string of four bombings hitting police in the Egyptian capital within a 10-hour period, killing six people. The most significant attack yet in the city fueled a furious backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood amid rising fears of a militant insurgency.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, urged all sides to condemn and prevent violence. Carney says such behavior will stunt Egypt’s political transition and only hurt the country’s prospects for political and economic stability.
In the hours after the blast in Egypt, angry residents — some chanting for the “execution” of Brotherhood members — joined police in clashes with the group’s supporters holding their daily street protests against the government. Smoke rose over Cairo from fires, and fighting around the country left 14 more people dead.
The mayhem on the eve of the third anniversary of 2011’s once hopeful revolution pointed to the accelerating, dangerous slide Egypt has taken since last summer’s military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi: A mounting confrontation between the military-backed government and Islamist opponents amid the escalating militant violence.
Saturday, the anniversary of the start of the 18-day uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak, raised the potential for new violence, as both military supporters and the Islamists vowed to take to the streets with rival rallies.
After Friday’s blasts, interim Preisident Adli Mansour vowed to “uproot terrorism,” just as the government crushed a militant insurgency in the 1990s. The state “will not show them pity or mercy,” he said. “We … will not hesitate to take the necessary measures.”
That could spell an escalation in the crackdown that the government has waged against Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood ever since his July 3 ouster.