President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed that the Egyptian government is obliged to protect foreign diplomatic missions and embassies, during his Monday meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Gentiloni’s visit to Egypt came following the Saturday bombing which targeted the Italian Consulate in Cairo, leaving one dead and nine injured.
The explosion, which inflicted damage to the consulate building and nearby buildings and cars, was believed to have been caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a vehicle parked outside the building.
During the meeting, Al-Sisi expressed his gratitude for Italy’s efforts to support Egypt’s fight against extremism. He added that the recent terrorist attacks in different countries show that all these groups have one source of ideological reference.
The Egyptian government have been lobbying internationally that all Islamist militant groups in the Arab world are of one origin, calling upon Western countries to assist in the fight against terrorism.
Gentiloni said that that bombing is a failed attempt to disturb relationship between Egypt and Italy. He also added in a press conference in the Egyptian Foreign Minister that Italy will continue on supporting Egypt in counterterrorism.
After the bombing the “Islamic State” (IS) claimed the car bomb attack. The statement, which was published on the group’s Twitter account, said: “The Islamic State’s soldiers succeeded in a bombing which contained 450 kilograms of explosive materials in front of the Italian Consulate in downtown Cairo.”
The insurgency, which was once limited to Sinai, and which was caused by the militant activities of “Islamic State”-affiliate “State of Sinai”, formerly known as Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis, has spread into Cairo neighbourhoods.
The attacks which reached its peak with the assassination of prosecutor general Hisham Barakat in Cairo, are considered a new development in the insurgency which has increased since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
Dar Al-Ifta, an Islamic legal and theoretical research institution, said the current level of insurgency which “Islamic State” has reached is aimed at dispersing the efforts of security and army forces, “in order to ease the pressure on the group in Sinai”.
The institution released a report Monday, saying that the extremist group is exhausting the police and army, as well as endangering the economic stability of the county.
It is no surprise that the Italian Consulate and Italy were targeted as it is one of Egypt’s main economic partners, the report said.
It also said that the latest bombing aimed to target the trust between security forces and the citizens.
Indeed after bombing, the police were criticised for its lack of security measures in front of the diplomatic missions.
The Egyptian Center for Human Rights (ECHR) condemned the incident, calling for the need to reconsider security measure in dealing with such crimes “instead of the random steps the current security forces are operating with”.
The centre also called for the ouster of the “failed security officials”. Head of the ECHR, Safwat Gerges, said: “Fighting terrorism demands the more awareness and planning instead of issuing oppressive laws, that violates the human rights articles and the Egyptian constitution.”
Following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat last Monday, Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim El-Heneidi proposed to the cabinet last week several amendments to the new law, in terms of procedures and penalties.
To counter terrorism, the proposed law stipulated that publishing news or information on terrorist attacks that conflicts with official statements would be a crime punishable by a minimum of two years imprisonment.