Egypt identifies perpetrator behind Monday's car explosion

Egyptians walk outside the National Cancer Institute in the capital Cairo on Aug. 5, 2019, where an accident took place just before midnight the previous day. — AFP

CAIRO — Egypt's interior ministry said on Thursday it has identified the perpetrator behind a car explosion that blew up outside Cairo's main cancer hospital, killing more than 20 and injuring dozens.

The ministry said the bomber was a member of the militant group Hasm and identified him as fugitive 24-year-old Abdel Rahman Khaled Mahmoud Abdel Rahman.

"This was confirmed following the DNA testing of the remains that were found at the site of the accident and based on the comparison with members of his family's (DNA)," the statement said.

On Monday, a car packed with explosives was driving against traffic and blew up outside the hospital.

The ministry also said that security forces killed 15 suspected militants on Thursday morning during raids on their hideouts in Cairo and in the province of Fayoum, south of Cairo. It said they were members of the "Hasm's terrorist cluster cell."

Egypt accuses Hasm, which emerged in 2016 and has claimed several attacks, of being a wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Brotherhood denies this and says it seeks change only through peaceful means. The ministry said the suspects were killed in gun battles, but did not elaborate on their identity or whether there had been any casualties or injuries among the security forces.

Weapons and explosives were found at the scene of the shootouts, the ministry said.

Human rights organizations have accused Egypt of carrying out extrajudicial executions and of trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has said that the matter of human rights should be treated in the context of regional turbulence and the struggle against terrorism. Strong security measures, he has said, are needed to stabilize Egypt after the turmoil that followed the country’s 2011 uprising.

Egypt’s military and police launched a major campaign against militant groups in 2018, focusing on the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the border with Libya. — Reuters