Cairo and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian security forces claim to have defused a number of explosive devices on the campuses of Al-Azhar and Ain Shams universities in Cairo on Tuesday. The latest incident comes after a series of bombs hidden in palm trees exploded at Cairo University last week, killing two people including a police Brigadier-General, and injuring five other police officers.
Militant group Ajnad Misr claimed responsibility for the attack.
An official in the press office of the Interior Ministry said: “Security forces at the Cairo Security Department are currently taking legal measures in an incident involving the discovery of 12 suspected devices while searching the [Ain Shams] university campus between the faculties of law and computer science.”
The official added that civil protection forces and explosive experts went to the scene and discovered the devices were bombs, which were subsequently defused.
Official spokesman also said police explosives experts at the General Administration of Civil Protection in Cairo defused a small bomb found near the wall of the Al-Azhar University campus in Nasr City and searched the perimeter of the campus to ensure there were no more devices in the area.
Meanwhile, the higher council of universities held an urgent meeting on Tuesday. Following the meeting, Minister of Higher Education Dr. Wael Al-Dajawi said a decision was made to increase police and armed forces presence outside university campuses to maintain security and provide assistance should the need arise.
Dajawi said there would be no security presence inside the universities at this stage except when outbreaks of violence required it, adding that he appreciated the great efforts made by the heads of universities.
Dr. Izzedine Abu Stait, Vice-President of Cairo University told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday: “The Interior Ministry is the party which decides how to intervene, according to its own plans.”
He added: “The position of the police so far—their large presence outside—has succeeded in securing the university, which should help restore normality.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor Hisham Barakat, the Egyptian prosecutor-general, travelled to Aswan to investigate violent tribal clashes in the governorate over the past few days that have left 26 people dead.
A statement from state prosecutors said they had begun investigating the killings that have rocked the governorate in order to ascertain how the events unfolded, and to identify the perpetrators of the murders and other violent acts that took place.
Bloody clashes erupted last Saturday and Sunday between the Nubian Daboudya and the Arab Bani Hilal tribes in Aswan, before the leaders of the two tribes, together with Aswan governor Mustafa Yousri, agreed on Sunday to implement a three-day truce amid intense security presence in the city, where police and army patrols roamed the streets.
The higher council of Arab tribes sent a delegation led by Salim Abu Ghazaleh, head of the council, to propose an initiative for conciliation between the two tribes. Abu Ghazaleh said the delegation included 12 members, including tribal leaders and top judges with experience in resolving conflicts between tribes.
In a related issue, military spokesman Col. Ahmed Ali on Tuesday said army and police forces carried out a number of raids in Sinai and arrested 24 people suspected of involvement in attacks on armed forces and police officers.