Police officer killed as bomb blast rocks Egypt's Alexandria

Police officer killed as bomb blast rocks Egypt's Alexandria
3 min read
24 March, 2018
At least one person has been killed and several more injured as a car bomb exploded in Alexandria, near the convoy of the city's security chief on Saturday.
Police officers sectioned off the scene of the blast [Getty]

A policeman was killed in a bomb attack on Saturday targeting the security chief of the city of Alexandria, two days before the start of Egypt's presidential election, officials said.

The bomb, which exploded in a car near a convoy transporting the security chief through a residential area of the Mediterranean city, also wounded four others, the government press office said.

General Mostafa el-Nemr, Alexandria's security chief, was not among the casualties of the "terrorist bombing that targeted the convoy", his office said, quoted by state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the casualties were taken to a military hospital.

Photographs posted online showed black smoke rising above the site of the attack on Al-Moaskar Al-Romani street, near a police station.

The bombing, for which there was no immediate claim of responsibility, came ahead of Monday's start of Egypt's presidential election in which the incumbent, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to sweep to a second term in office.

Witnesses said that army and police officers sectioned off the scene of the blast with a security cordon.

It has not yet been confirmed if the explosion is terror related, however Egyptian regime troops have been waging an offensive against an Islamic State-affiliated insurgency in the northern Sinai since February.

An ongoing spate of extremist attacks have targeted military and government officials in Egypt for several years.

Pictures of the scene of the attack soon emerged on social media, showing the burnt-out remains of a car surrounded by clouds of smoke.

Since the ouster of Morsi and a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood, security forces have sought to quell attacks by extremists who have declared allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.

The militants of Ansar Beit al-Maddis have killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.

IS claimed the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner carrying tourists from the South Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which killed all 224 people on board.

It has also killed scores of members of Egypt's minority Coptic Christian community in church bombings and shootings.

Last April 9, during Palm Sunday celebrations, suicide bombers killed 45 worshippers in attacks on churches in Alexandria and Tanta, also north of Cairo, since when Egypt has been under a state of emergency.

Sisi gave the armed forces and police a three-month deadline in November to wipe out the extremists.

The president's ultimatum came after suspected IS gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslims, who are seen by IS as heretics.

The deadline has since been extended and the armed forces have launched their most comprehensive campaign yet to end the five-year-old extremist insurgency.