CAIRO (AP) — A midday bomb blast in one of the busiest boulevards in downtown Cairo wounded nine people on Monday, the police said. Shortly after the explosion, a little-known group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bomb was hidden under a car parked near the High Court — the country's highest criminal court — and went off in Cairo's Ramses neighborhood. The area is very crowded, with dozens of street vendors selling their ware on stalls set up on the asphalt. Nearby are several bus stops, a railway station and a subway station.
Egyptian private The Seventh Day TV broadcast footage of the site, showing hundreds of onlookers around cars with smashed windows and blood on the pavement. Police cordoned off the area and state TV later reported that a second bomb was dismantled before it went off.
The Interior Ministry and the Health Ministry said there were no deaths, correcting an earlier state TV report that said one person died. The wounded included three officers, two conscripts and four civilians.
Egypt has seen a wave of attacks, mostly targeting the country's security forces, since the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. A Sinai-based militant group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq, has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings and larger attacks. Other groups have claimed responsibility for attacks carried out by small, homemade explosive devices that caused few casualties.
A group calling itself "Revolutionary Punishment" claimed responsibility on its Twitter account for Monday's attack, saying they targeted a police checkpoint. The group is believed to mostly consist of Islamist youths seeking revenge for the ongoing crackdown on Morsi's supporters.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group has been branded as a terrorist organization and its members are either underground, on the run or in jail, awaiting trial.
The attacks have raised fears ahead of a major economic conference in Egypt later this month, aimed at attracting foreign investment.
On Sunday, a bomb went off near a police station in the southern city of Aswan, killing two civilians and wounding a soldier and four others.