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24 Dec, 2013 00:01

14 dead, 130 injured as explosion destroys police office in Egypt

14 dead, 130 injured as explosion destroys police office in Egypt

Explosions at a police headquarters in Mansoura, Egypt, early Tuesday morning killed at least 14 people and injured 130, according to Egypt's health ministry.

According to the state health ministry, multiple explosions at a security directorate in Mansoura, capital of the Daqahliya province in northern Egypt, occurred early Tuesday, Al-Ahram reported.

Most of the dead were among police agents inside the partially collapsed five-floor building, AP reported.

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi labeled the attack a “terrorist incident,” saying those responsible "will not escape justice,” according to AP.

The head of the security directorate was among those injured, Daqahliya governor Omar El-Shawadfy told Egypt state television.


— Ahmed ElShabrawy (@AhmedElshabrawy) December 23, 2013

Hisham Masoud, General Manager of Mansoura’s hospitals, told Ahram the casualty toll is expected to rise based on eyewitness reports of the condition of those in the badly-damaged Daqahliya security directorate.

Al-Ahram’s Arabic site quoted an anonymous security source who said two bombs exploded at the same time. The first, the source said, went off on a higher floor in the directorate as the second detonated in a car next to the building.

A third explosive device in another car was defused, the source said.

People walk near debris after an explosion near the Building of the Directorate of Security in Egypt's Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Cairo December 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Photos of the Daqahliya security directorate were posted on Al-Ahram’s Arabic site not long after the incident. The images showed severely damaged exterior walls of the building, as well as demolished vehicles parked on the premises.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi condemned the attacks and vowed to seek justice for the perpetrators.

“This is an act of terrorism that aims at frightening the people and obstructing the road map. The black hands behind this act want to destroy the future of our country,” Beblawi told Egyptian satellite channel ONTV.

“The state will do its utmost to pursue the criminals who executed, planned and supported that attack."


— Ahmed ElShabrawy (@AhmedElshabrawy) December 23, 2013

Meanwhile, Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawki pointed at the Muslim Brotherhood as responsible for the bombing, saying the Islamist group revealed its "ugly face as a terrorist organization shedding blood and messing with Egypt's security,” according to Middle East News Agency.

Beblawi would not go as far as Shawki, refusing to confirm any official terrorist designation for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Ahram reported.

The bombings come one day after the group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, called on police officers and members of the army to desert their posts in the secular government’s military.

The building of the Directorate of Security is pictured after an explosion in Egypt's Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Cairo December 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The group and other Sinai-based groups have been blamed for an uptick in attacks against security forces following the military’s ouster of democratically elected former President Mohamed Morsi.

An Egyptian military offensive in the Northern Sinai province against militants began in August. The operations have resulted in the killing of 184 fighters and the arrest of 803 others, military spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali said Monday.

Bombings have increased in Egypt since Morsi’s exit, especially in response to heavy-handed military tactics against pro-Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Police officers stand near damaged vehicles outside the building of Directorate of Security after an explosion in Egypt's Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Cairo December 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

A picture taken in the early hours of December 24, 2013 shows destruction in the Egyptian city of Mansura, North of Cairo, following a powerful car bomb explosion. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Khaled)

On July 24, an explosive device went off at a police station near the Mansoura security directorate, killing at least one and injuring 19.

On September 5, Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt after a bomb exploded near his convoy in Cairo.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for various attacks, including the bombing aimed at the interior minister.


— Ahmed ElShabrawy (@AhmedElshabrawy) December 24, 2013