Cablegate: Egypt: Probable Terror Attacks in Cairo On April
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 003183
NEA FOR DAS DIBBLE AND NEA/ELA
DS FOR JOE MORTON AND FOR DSS AND DS/IP/NEA
ALSO FOR CA AND S/CT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC CASC KCRM EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: PROBABLE TERROR ATTACKS IN CAIRO ON APRIL
1. (U) This message is senstive but unclassified, please
handle accordingly. Not for Internet distribution.
2. (SBU) Two apparent terror attacks took place in Cairo on
the afternoon of April 30. An explosion in downtown Cairo
killed one Egyptian and injured seven, including four
tourists (none American) at approximately 1530. The
explosion occurred in Abdel Monaim Riyad Square, a major road
intersection between the Egypt Museum and Ramses Hilton
hotel. The GOE announced that the injured tourists included
an Israeli couple, an Italian woman, and a Swedish doctor.
All have been taken to local hospitals and are, according to
the Ministry of Health, in stable condition.
3. (U) According to a statement from the Ministry of
Interior (MOI) read on Egypt state television at 1800,
Egyptian security forces earlier on April 30 arrested two
individuals in connection with the April 7 bombing at the
Khan al Khalili bazaar, Ashraf Sa'eed Youssef and Gamal Ahmad
Abdel Aal. According to the statement, the police were
pursuing a third suspect, Ihab Idris, when Idris threw
himself from the Six October bridge (which passes over the
square) causing a bomb he was carrying to detonate, killing
Idris and injuring others as noted above.
4. (SBU) State Security officials have confirmed, although
no details have been released publicly, that one hour later,
at 1630, a shooting occurred at As Sayed Aisha Square,
approximately one mile from Cairo's Citadel. According to
unconfirmed reports, two veiled Egyptian women fired on a
tourist bus; one was killed and the second critically injured
by return gunfire from police. Three other Egyptians were
injured; there are no reports of harm to tourists. The GOE
statement read at 1800 did not mention this latter attack.
5. (U) The Sheikh of Al Azhar, Egypt's leading cleric,
condemned the first attack as criminal; many Egyptians
interviewed on the streets did the same and suggested the
attackers were attempting to destabilize the country.
6. (SBU) All official Americans have been accounted for;
many were outside Cairo for the four-day holiday weekend.
The Charge will convene a full Emergency Action Committee at
noon on May 1. All official Americans have been cautioned to
remain on heightened alert. Embassy personnel remain in
constant contact with Egyptian security officials and have
requested heightened security measures at U.S. facilities.
7. (U) Post delivered the following notice to Americans
registered at the Embassy and also posted the notice on the
Embassy web site. Begin text of notice:
On the afternoon of Saturday, April 30th, at approximately
3:30, an individual set off an explosion just north of the
Egyptian Museum. Four foreign tourists and three Egyptians
were injured in the attack. We understand, in a second
incident, that a shooting attack may have targeted a tourist
bus near the Citadel later that same afternoon. The Embassy
cannot confirm details on the second attack at this point.
All reports indicate that no Americans were injured in either
U.S. citizens are advised to avoid tourist areas in Cairo
until the Embassy is able to make an assessment of the
security situation in Cairo. Americans should be exceedingly
careful and maintain a heightened awareness of their
surroundings. The Embassy will inform the community via
warden message and Internet as we develop additional
As the U.S. Government develops information on any potential
security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares
credible threat information through its consular information
program documents, available on the Internet at
http://travel.state.gov. For further information, U.S.
citizens may call the Embassy's American Citizen Services
Unit on 797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday
from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For emergencies after
business hours and on weekends, U.S. citizens can contact the
Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 797-3300.
The Embassy is located at 5 Latin America Street, Garden
City, Cairo. General information about Egypt is available at
the Embassy's website www.usembassy.egnet.net. The most
recent State Department Worldwide Caution Public
Announcement, and Middle East and North Africa Public
Announcement contain additional security information. These
documents can be found at www.travel.state.gov.
End text of notice.
8. (SBU) Comment. The MOI statement on the first attack is
peculiar. It strains credulity that a terrorist being
pursued by police would manage to reach one of the major
intersections in the city, then throw himself from a bridge
so precisely that his bomb would detonate near four tourists
(including two Israelis). This may well have been a
deliberate attack rather than the accidental result of a
9. (SBU) Comment continued. The sketchy information
available strongly suggests the attackers sought high-profile
attacks against Western tourists. The location of the
downtown attack - in the city's most trafficked intersection
steps from one of Egypt's most popular tourist attractions -
as well as the injuries to tourists indicates that Westerners
were the target. The Citadel likewise is a standard stop for
visitors to Cairo. As with the attack in the Khan al Khalili
tourist bazaar earlier in April, the tourism industry and
ultimately the GOE must be considered targets as well. The
Egyptian tourism sector shrugged off the April 7 attack;
hotels and tour operators reported few cancellations and
tourists have been thick on Cairo's streets. Tourism
industry representatives will watch closely reaction to the
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