Chaos Strikes Cairo

With the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution around the corner, Egypt sits on the edge of its seat. A total of four bombs exploded in the capital on January 24, 2014. Just a day before the commemoration of the revolution responsible for the removal of former President Mohamed Hosny Mubarak, Egypt seems to be commemorating in the most atrocious way. In a matter of 12 hours, more than 70 Egyptians were left injured, and more than four lay dead.

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The Museum of Islamic Art

The first attack began as a bomb targeted the Cairo Security Directorate, leaving four dead and clouds of smoke. The attack is also responsible for destroying neighboring buildings, including the Museum of Islamic Art. Dating back to the 19th century, the Museum of Islamic Art was severely damaged as ceilings collapsed and several items of the 4,000 on display were destroyed.  A few hours later, a bomb was thrown at a moving police vehicle near a metro station in Giza. Shortly following, a third bomb rocked the capital as a police station in Giza was attacked. Unfortunately, Giza continued to suffer as the fourth attack took place at Radobis Cinema Theater, in Al Haram Street, Giza.

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The Site of the Cairo Security Directorate

An Al-Qaeda inspired group, Ansar Bait al Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group stated, “We tell our dear nation that these attacks were only the first drops of rain, so wait for what is coming up.” They go on to advise, “our people in Egypt to stay away from the police and security headquarters because we suffer a lot when we try to avoid inflicting harm to the Muslims.” Nevertheless, numerous Egyptians continue to blame the Muslim Brotherhood. Ahram Online states that, “After the explosion, large crowds of onlookers gathered at the Cairo site, chanting slogans demanding the “execution” of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.” However, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official Twitter account has denied culpability for the attacks, stating that it “strongly condemn(s) cowardly bombings in Cairo, express(es) condolences to families of those killed, demand(s) swift investigations.” Even though Ansar Bait al Maqdis claimed responsibility, Egyptians have developed a tendency to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for any political and social unrest.

Families who were planning to go out and celebrate in the streets of Cairo for the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution were not expecting such events a day before. It is believed that Friday’s events were meant to warn the country, prohibiting any riots on January 25. Such events are expected to spread fear amongst Egyptians, predominately keeping them at home and preventing riots. Nevertheless, the Egyptian presidency states that, “Such terrorist attacks will only unite the will of Egyptians to move forward towards achieving the goals of the 25 January and the 30 revolution and to carry out Egyptians’ upcoming roadmap.”

It does not seem like a good start of the new year for Egypt as the death toll increases to more than 40 fatalities in the first 24 days of 2014. The country that was once flourishing with culture, tourism, and knowledge faces a bleak future. The political scene in Egypt can no longer be predicted, as the country walks down a path of instability as well as social and political unrest. Friday’s attacks foreshadows a bloody start to the January 25 Revolution’s anniversary.

At this moment Egyptians ask for nothing more than a stable and peaceful future. Across the nation, our thoughts and prayers are with all the lives lost and injured.  

By Malak Sekaly