It is looking more and more like Egypt is heading towards a reprise of the “dirty war” between Islamist insurgents and security forces that shook the country in the ’90s. From Haaretz:
Last update – 22:34 30/04/2005
Two Israelis hurt as wave of terror strikes Cairo
By Yoav Stern and Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies
CAIRO – A bomber and two veiled women attacked tourists in separate incidents in Cairo on Saturday, targeting people near a popular museum and a bus in the south of the city and wounding seven, including two Israelis, official sources said. An Egyptian man, probably the bomber, and the two women were killed, they said.
The bombing, which Cairo’s security chief said was a suicide attack, occurred around 3:15 P.M., about 100 meters (yards) from the back of the Egyptian Museum and not far from a 5-star hotel…
Two militant groups posted Web statements claiming responsibility for the twin attacks – the Mujahedeen of Egypt and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades…
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades said Saturday’s violence was in revenge for the arrests of thousands of people in Sinai after bombings which killed 34 at two Sinai resorts last October, which it also claimed to have carried out. Egyptian authorities have said that attack was connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not domestic violence…
Prior to the Passover holiday, the National Security Council published a statement warning Israelis to avoid travel to Egypt due to a high probability of a terrorist attack.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades would appear to be named for Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian militant who joined the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan and was killed by a roadside bomb (or, by some accounts, a land-mine) in 1989. A profile on the International Counter-Terrorism (ICT) website calls him “Bin Laden’s spiritual mentor”; a similar one on the International Association of Counter-Terrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP) site calls him “The Man Before Osama bin Laden,” and notes that there is an armed wing of Hamas called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. A favorable profile on Islam.org calls him “The Striving Sheikh,” while a 2002 account of his life on Salon calls him both “The Godfather of Jihad” and “The Lenin of International Jihad” (a combination certain to miff both doctrinaire Leninists and James Brown fans). An October 2004 account in Egypt’s English-language Al-Ahram Weekly notes that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were among three groups claiming credit for the Sinai hotel attacks that month.
A bomb attack earlier this month left three dead at a Cairo bazaar.