More terror in Cairo

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.

  1. Relation to Abdel Rahman?
    I wonder if there is any relation between these attackers and Sheik Adbel Rahman, Lynne Stewart’s client.

    ICT is an Israeli think tank. The numbers they put out on Palestinian victims is politically skewed.

    1. Your question is also a little skewed…
      Sheikh Abdel Rahman was linked to the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group), which led the resistance in the ’90s and officially remains under ceasefire. I would imagine that these recent attacks are the work of breakaway factions that have grown tired of the ceasefire. The Islamic Group’s 1997 attack at Luxor was explicitly aimed at pressing demands for Abdel Rahman’s freedom. His name has not been invoked in any statements claiming responsibility for the recent attacks, that I know of. Such speculation is both unwarranted and unhelpful as Lynne awaits sentencing.

      Yes, the jihadi and “counter-terrorist” websites are equally creepy. To those who understand dialectics, this is not surprising.

      1. Not skewering Lynne
        I don’t see why the speculation was unwarranted. Rahman wanted to continue attacks. The leadership of the Islamic Group within Egypt agreed with the government to stop them. Now there are attacks by Islamists again. It does not seem unreasonable to wonder if Rahman had something to do with it.

        1. Not buying it
          I don’t think Sheikh Rahman has much ability to call any shots from extreme isolation in a top-security prison cell in Minnesota.