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Friday, January 24, 2014

Video of Deadly Bombing in Cairo

As my colleague David Kirkpatrick reported, at least six people were killed and 70 injured in a string of four bombings that targeted police installations across Cairo on Friday. A closed-circuit television camera captured video of the largest blast, a car bomb, which exploded outside the city’s main police headquarters, killing four and badly damaging a museum and library. The bombers responsible for the attack were also briefly captured on video.

The video was shown in the form of two separate clips on el-Fagr, an Egyptian television network, which also uploaded them to the station’s YouTube account. In the first clip, the bombers can be seen parking a light-colored car in front of the police headquarters at 6:29 a.m., when the street was largely empty and still. A dark-colored car pulled up next to it, and the driver quickly jumped out and ducked into the getaway vehicle, which sped off. In the moments before the video ends, two people can be seen approaching the parked car and inspecting it.

Video shows bombers parking a car outside the main police headquarters in Cairo and leaving in a second car. The parked car later exploded.

A second clip from the closed-circuit television video picked up where the first left off. The two people who approached the car to inspect it can be seen leaving the car and going back into the police headquarters. Less than two minutes later the parked car exploded in a blinding flash of light. Dust and smoked choked the air, and only one of the many streetlights that were visible before the explosion can still be seen shining.

Another clip from a closed-circuit television video taken of the blast showed the car bomb exploding.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a jihadist group that has mainly focused its attacks in the volatile Sinai Peninsula, claimed responsibility for all four attacks in a statement released on Friday. David Barnett, a researcher who closely follows Islamic extremist groups in Sinai and Gaza, posted a copy of the Arabic-language statement on Twitter.

In recent weeks the group has expanded its reach beyond Sinai, and in late December it carried out a similar car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, killing 15 and injuring 100 at a police station there. The group also claimed responsibility for an attack on Thursday, the day before the Cairo bombings, in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef. That attack, on a police checkpoint, killed five and injured two more, according to Egyptian Independent, a news website.

Liam Stack also blogs about the Middle East on Twitter @liamstack.