Egypt’s military gambles with repression
In the wave of bombings and targeted assassinations that has swept
Egypt since August, Thursday’s bomb blast on a busy street in Nasr City,
east of Cairo, caused only a modest amount of damage.
Five people were injured, one seriously, the health
department reported, and there were no deaths – nothing like the carnage
caused by the massive explosion in the northern city of Mansoura
earlier this week in which 16 people, mostly policemen, were killed and
more than 130 injured.
In trying to find a context for the attacks across Egypt, in which
more than 170 police and security forces have been killed, many are
looking to the 1990s, when the country last experienced a sustained
campaign of terrorism.
The Islamist group al-Gama’a Islamiya led an insurgency
against the Egyptian government from 1992 to 1998 in which at least 796
policemen and soldiers died.
The group is best known for its attack on the southern
tourist hub of Luxor in 1997 that killed 58 foreign tourists and four
But that insurgency had one key difference to the terrorist
acts occurring across the country now, says Geneive Abdo, a fellow in
the Middle East Project at the Stimson Centre and a non-resident fellow
at the Brookings Institution.
“In the 1990s the attacks were clearly coming from al-Gama’a
Islamiya, now with the evolution of radical groups in the Middle East it
is difficult to know who is really responsible – is it al-Qaeda, is it
an al-Qaeda group from another country?” Abdo says.
To read the full article, click here.