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Cairo University area hit by three explosions

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Policeman killed in double blast outside Cairo University; third blast occurs approximately two hours after double blast

 Egyptians inspect the damage after twin bombs struck police posts near Cairo University in the centre of Egypt’s capital on April 2, 2014, which was followed by a third blast as police and journalists gathered at the scene. (AFP PHOTOS / MAHMOUD KHALED)

Egyptians inspect the damage after twin bombs struck police posts near Cairo University in the centre of Egypt’s capital on April 2, 2014, which was followed by a third blast as police and journalists gathered at the scene.
(AFP PHOTOS / MAHMOUD KHALED)

A third explosion rocked the vicinity of Cairo University on Wednesday, occurring roughly two hours after a double blast in the same area.

Two consecutive explosions went off outside the university’s Faculty of Engineering in Giza around noon, killing one and injuring five.

The blasts were caused by two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) leaving Tarek El-Mergawy, Director of Western Giza Investigation, killed and five other police officers injured, according to the Ministry of Interior. A military funeral was held for El-Mergawy on Wednesday afternoon.

The Ministry of Interior said in a press statement that the IEDs were “planted inside a tree in the area”, across the street from Cairo University’s main gate. Ambulances arrived at the scene of the explosion shortly afterwards.

The third blast was also caused by an IED, planted atop a tree in the vicinity of Cairo University, reported state TV.

Investigations into the blasts remain ongoing, the Ministry of Interior said. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb called for a meeting for the cabinet’s security committee, to be attended by the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Justice, as well as representatives from the General Intelligence Service, the Military Intelligence and National Security.

Mehleb praised “the sacrifices made by policemen … to protect Egyptians in universities from the traitors who support terrorist groups.” He stressed that “such cowardly incidents” will not prevent the state from taking the necessary measures to stop “terrorism from messing with the nation’s security and safety.”

The United States Embassy in Cairo condemned the “terrorist attacks” in a statement released on Wednesday.

“There is absolutely no justification for such cowardly attacks,” the statement read.

Students at the Faculty of Engineering said security forces fired two teargas canisters outside the faculty right after the blasts.

Cairo University Chairman Gaber Nassar said that “terrorist explosions will not halt the educational process at the university,” reported state-run news agency MENA. Nasser stressed that Cairo University is “insistent on the continuation of the educational process,” adding that the university’s administrative security is currently scanning the vicinity of the university campus in search of other explosives.

Students Against the Coup (SAC), a student movement which supports former president Mohamed Morsi, cancelled a planned protest after the blasts. The movement denied they had anything to do with the explosion.

Maria, a coordinator for the female wing of SAC who preferred not to disclose her last name, said SAC members left the university right after the blasts in fear of being searched or arrested by security forces.

The pro-Morsi student group condemned the bombings and clarified in a statement that they held the police accountable for negligence and not for the bombing after conflicting statements.

“SAC holds the officials of the Ministry of Interior responsible for the security vacuum present that allows for such senseless violence to occur,” said the SAC statement adding that the group is committed to peaceful means of expression and protest.

The SAC movement has been organising protests around university campuses nationwide for the past two Wednesdays. Protests devolved into clashes on both incidents, leaving at least one dead on 19 March and another on 26 March.

On 24 January, four bombs went off at four separate places in Greater Cairo, including the Cairo Security Directorate in Bab Al-Khalq neighbourhood. The four attacks left six people killed.

Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for all the aforementioned attacks.


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