Islamists claim former Egyptian officer attempted to kill Interior Minister Ibrahim | Africa | DW | 26.10.2013
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Islamists claim former Egyptian officer attempted to kill Interior Minister Ibrahim

A group claims a former military officer carried out a suicide bombing meant to kill Egypt’s interior minister. Mohammed Ibrahim survived when a car blew up next to his convoy and gunmen strafed his vehicle September 5.

In a video, the Islamist faction Ansar Jerusalem identifies former Major Waleed Badr as responsible for the attack, but does not say whether he had acted on its behalf.

Staged in broad daylight, the assassination attempt has thus far proved the most audacious act of militancy since the July 3 military ouster of former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The explosion killed the bomber, a passerby and an unidentified person and wounded more than 20 people.

The video shows a seated Badr ahead of the attack, addressing members of what he called the Islamist youth.

"The Egyptian army has waged a war against our religion, for they have killed and arrested many Muslims and attacked mosques," said Badr, appealing to his audience to fight the new government.

"(Army chief General Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi thought there would be a reaction from you, but all you gave him was chanting and bare chests and you became an easy target for torture. Why are you afraid of fighting? You must fight fire with fire."

Interior Minister Ibrahim helped oversee a crackdown on Morsi's supporters. On August 14, security forces killed hundreds of Morsi supporters, and the government has banned the former president's Muslim Brotherhood movement.

'Way of God'

In the video, biographical details of Badr scroll up the screen, including that he graduated from military college in 1991 and served in the army, reaching the rank of major. He fell out with his colleagues and the military finally dismissed him.

"Muslims must sacrifice in the way of God and fight with explosive cars and suicide vests," Badr says in the video. "We must kill them as they kill us."

The video shows how assailants prepared a white car with explosives as Badr gives his final thoughts. Security sources told the news agency Reuters they had information that a former officer had carried out the attack on September 5, but would not confirm Badr's involvement.

Footage later spotlights a white car driving by what looks like a government convoy. Then: a huge orange fireball, a bang, dust and people running away.

Post-coup violence

Officials say Morsi's Brotherhood intended to establish an Islamic state across several countries, and had not made Egypt's interests a priority. The military has held Morsi incommunicado since his ousting and a court has ordered an outright ban on the Brotherhood.

Since July, Brotherhood supporters have protested security crackdowns that have killed hundreds of the group's followers and jailed more than 2,000. Online calls from hard-line Islamists for a more violent response to the crackdown have intensified since August 14.

Ansar Jerusalem also claimed responsibility for an attack last week on an intelligence compound in Ismailia and for a suicide attack on a security headquarters in el-Tor, in southern Sinai on October 7. Earlier, the group claimed attacks on gas pipelines to Israel, rockets targeting Israel and a 2012 shootout along the border that killed three militants and an Israeli soldier.

mkg/rc (Reuters, AP)