At least 2 people have died after a bomb exploded in front of downtown Cairo’s High Court on Monday afternoon, Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar confirmed late this evening. Nine others were injured in the attack, he said.
State media outlets had reported at least one fatality earlier in the day, but Ghaffar initially refuted the reports. Both victims were civilians, according to the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
The explosive device was placed under a car parked in front of the courthouse on Ramses Street — a high-traffic area near both a metro station and a police checkpoint, the Interior Ministry said. It was detonated remotely, injuring at least three police officers and two conscripts, security sources told the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA), as well as the general prosecutor’s driver, according to Al-Ahram.
Earlier in the evening Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat, who was reportedly inside the court house at the time of the attack, announced that the perpetrators would be prosecuted under the new anti-terrorism law, MENA reported.
“There is no room for terrorism or terrorists in Egypt,” his statement declared.
Officials have not yet named any suspects, nor have any groups claimed responsibility for the attack. But if the perpetrators were apprehended, this would be the first time the legislation was invoked since it was ratified last Tuesday. The law broadly expands the definition of terrorism, and introduces much harsher penalties for association with terrorist acts.
This is the second time in less than a year that the area was targeted. Last October, 14 people were injured when a car bomb exploded in front of the High Court.
Bombings in public spaces such as metro and train stations, shopping malls and food outlets have become increasingly common in recent months — a shift from earlier attacks that targeted police and military facilities. The devices used in such attacks have largely been crudely made or fake, with many only resulting in a loud blast.
Last Thursday, one person was killed and seven others injured when six bombs went off across Cairo and Giza. The victim was an employee of a pizzeria in Giza’s Imbaba neighborhood.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the site of the bomb attack as the Supreme Constitutional Court. The article has been amended to reflect that the bombing occurred in front of the High Court.