With FIFA deadline for security guarantees from Egypt over Cairo’s hosting of Ghana in the second-leg of their World Cup playoff just eight days away, a car bomb has exploded in the north African country targeting the military and police.
The first day of study at Al-Azhar University, scores of students staged protests to denounce what they call the “military coup” against the elected president as FIFA monitors the situation.
FIFA has given Egypt the deadline of 28 October to provide security guarantees before the second-leg of the match will be played in the country but the violence looks to be on the rise.
This comes in the wake of terrorists targeting Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia last week which could have been deadly.
Ghana had complained over the growing insecurity in Egypt and expressed fears that the match to be played on 19 November could be a subject of attack by terrorists.
Even though the Egyptian FA says it is capable of hosting the match, the security situations looks worrying as the security authorities are the subject of attack by the insurgents.
Their presence during the match itself could be a security threat as they could be attacked during the match which could deaths.
A car rigged with explosives detonated outside a military intelligence headquarters in Ismailia on Saturday, wounding at least six military personnel and highlighting the rise in militant attacks on security forces.
The assaults, though still apparently uncoordinated, are increasingly brazen and sophisticated, raising fears of an insurgency that could plunge Egypt into turmoil just 2 ½ years after its pro-democracy uprising.
Saturday’s powerful bomb exploded outside the local military intelligence headquarters and next to a busy square near Ismailia’s downtown, sending black clouds of smoke into the air and burning several other cars nearby.
No group has claimed responsibility, but al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in the largely lawless Sinai region have stepped up attacks on soldiers and police since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July. The militants have on occasion extended their campaign into major cities.
Egypt’s turmoil has intensified since the army deposed Mursi and installed a new government, saying it was responding to mass protests against the freely elected president’s rule.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, once again outlawed in Egypt as it was under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, called the Islamist leader’s overthrow a military coup.
Security forces cracked down on the group on August 14, crushing two protest camps in Cairo and killing hundreds of people. Many Brotherhood members have been arrested. Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders face charges of inciting violence.
The Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and biggest Islamist group, rejects the charges and denies any links with militant activity.
Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who toppled Mursi, was quoted by state media on Saturday as saying army and police forces were working together to “confront terrorism and all those who try to create problems and incite strife between the children of this nation”.