Bomb Attack Targets Egypt Prosecutor

Bomb Attack Targets Egypt Prosecutor

CAIRO (AP) -- A bomb attack in a busy, upscale Cairo suburb targeted the convoy of Egypt's prosecutor general on Monday morning, a security official said. The prosecutor survived the assassination attempt but his two guards and a civilian were wounded.

The attack came as Egyptian security forces went on high alert on the eve of the second anniversary of massive anti-Islamist demonstrations that paved the way, days later, for the military's ouster of Egypt's Islamic President Mohammed Morsi.

The bombing came shortly after State Prosecutor Hisham Barakat left his house in the busy eastern Heliopolis suburb, heading to his downtown office, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The prosecutor's two security guards and a civilian were wounded, the official said, adding that it was not clear if Barakat was hurt or not.

Footage from the scene of the blast showed at least four cars charred and wrecked from the explosion, as black smoke rose from the site. Several trees had caught fire and firefighters were dousing the area to extinguish the flames.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Two years ago on June 30, millions of Egyptians took to the streets, demanding Morsi step down over allegations that he abused power in favor of his Muslim Brotherhood group. The rallies continued until days later, the military stepped in and removed Morsi.

Following Morsi's ouster, the military-backed government cracked down heavily on his supporters, killing hundreds and detaining tens of thousands. Since then, authorities have carried out mass trials and handed down death sentences to hundreds of suspects. This has brought the Egyptian judiciary and officials under international criticism. They have also been targeted in attacks by Islamic militants.

The attack on Barakat is the first major assassination attempt on a high government official since the 2013 suicide bombing targeting the then-interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim.

Egypt's main Islamic militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis — which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group fighting in Iraq and Syria — has claimed responsibility for that attack.

(KA)