Army, political forces condemn attack on interior minister

The Armed Forces released a statement Thursday afternoon condemning the failed assassination attempt on Interior Ministry Mohamed Ibrahim. A bombing targeting his convoy in Nasr City this morning has left at least 22 injured.

“These attempts will not break the will of our heroes [in the Armed Forces], but will increase their will to deal swiftly with terrorist agents,” the statement, signed by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, said. The statement was released by Armed Forces spokesperson Ahmed Ali.

Amr Darrag, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm the Freedom and Justice Party, also swiftly released a statement disavowing the attack.

“We strongly condemn the car bombing targeting the interior minister, peacefulness is the only path,” Darrag wrote on the official Twitter account of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a coalition of the FJP and other Islamist parties opposing the military takeover that ousted the Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

The alliance issued a similar statement condemning the attack later in the day, adding that the bombing could be used as a pretext to extend the state of emergency and the increase of harsh security measures of “oppression and detention followed by the coup leadership that is opposed by the alliance.”

The state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) published remarks made by Ibrahim in the aftermath of the attempt on his life, saying it would not prevent him from continuing in the “war on terrorism.”

“I expected before such mean attempts following the clearing of the Rabea and Nahda protest camps,” he said, referring to the security forces’ violent dispersal of major Brotherhood-affiliated sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya Mosque on Nahda Square on August 14 that left over 1,000 dead.

“Even if I was martyred, another interior minister will come to continue war on evil terrorism until we secure the country,” he asserted.

The hard line conservative Islamist group Jama’a al-Islamiya and its political arm, the Construction and Development Party — which once espoused a program of violence against the state security apparatus in the 1990s — issued a statement condemning the attempt and denying involvement in plotting the bombing. The Islamist group, a major political ally of the Brotherhood, has recently been accused of inciting for sectarian violence against the nation’s Coptic community.

“We strongly condemn such an attempt regardless of who could be behind it, and regardless of the justifications,” the statement said.

The statement also warned of the dangerous ramifications of the attack, adding that “It is more dangerous if this bombing is initiated by those who want to block the road in front of any reconciliation between Egyptians, or those who want to find more justifications to practice more oppression against opposition in the name of confronting terrorism.”

The liberal Dostour Party called the bombing a terrorist act that shows a dangerous escalation in the “violence and armed terrorism that controls the country in recent weeks.”

MENA quoted a source close to Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby, who said the top diplomat is condemning the attack, calling it a “criminal incident that aims to destabilize Egypt.”

The US Embassy issued a brief statement on the attack on Thursday afternoon, saying it “condemns in the strongest terms today’s heinous terrorist attack on the minister of interior and his convoy,” and extending its condolences to those injured and their families.

Some Islamist forces have inferred that the bombing could be used by the state as a pretext to justify harsher emergency measures. In response, publisher and political commentator Hesham Kassem wrote on his Facebook page that threatening Egyptians with terrorism would never yield the desired results.

“Those who make such claims have to remember that the Brotherhood’s terrorism started with the special organization in the 1940s, [and] one of its leaders with the organization’s fifth supreme guide, Mostafa Mashour,” he claimed, alleging that the Brotherhood has been founded on a long line of terrorist discourse.

Former MP Mostafa al-Naggar issued a statement calling the bombing “the kind of terrorism that we warned against before,” adding that the only solution is to deal swiftly with all “terrorist elements,” and to support a social and political movement opposing social-based violence and values the rule of law.

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