London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived a bomb attack early on Thursday in Cairo’s northeastern Nasr City. The explosion targeted the minister’s convoy, detonating close to his residence in Nasr City. Egypt’s Ambulance Authority reportedly that at least seven people were injured in the attack.
Speaking following the attack, Ibrahim told reporters: “What happened today is not the end, but the beginning,” adding that the attack marked the start of “a new wave of terrorism.”
He claimed that he had been informed of a plot against his life earlier this week, adding that “foreign elements” were involved.
There are discrepancies in the initial reports of the attack, with Egyptian security official saying that the blast was either the result of a suicide car bombing or an explosives-laden car being detonated by remote control.
Citing security officials, Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency said a booby-trapped car exploded on Mustafa Al-Nahas Street in Nasr City as Ibrahim was en route from his home to the ministry.
However Egyptian state TV reported that the bomb was thrown by unknown assailants from the rooftop of a nearby building, describing the attack as an “assassination attempt.”
The building from which the assailants lobbed the bomb has been pinpointed and investigations into the attack are underway, state TV reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Egyptian security officials, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said that the driver of one car in the minister’s convoy was injured in the attack, in addition to six passers-by. The security official confirmed that police are searching the area for suspects and that no arrests have been made.
However Egyptian security sources, speaking to Reuters news agency on the condition of anonymity, claimed that police had killed two of the attackers.
Cairo’s Nasr City has been a major stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood and had been the site of a major sit-in protest by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi which was later broken up by police on August 14, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry oversees the country’s police force which carried out the deadly crackdown against pro-Mursi supporters in Cairo last month, arousing significant anger among the former president’s supporters.
While Egypt has been the scene of unrest and violence since the military coup that removed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi from office in July, Thursday’s attack marks the first time that a senior government official has been targeted.