January 27, 2014 | Quote

Cairo Police Bombing Signals New Al Qaeda Threat

Eight people were killed on Friday during clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood just hours after four bombs rocked Cairo—the biggest targeting the city’s police headquarters in the deadliest blast to hit the capital in living memory.

The bombing of the police headquarters that left four people dead and wounded at least 76 marks an escalation in jihadist violence. It undercuts claims by the army that it can contain terrorism and overcome other militant challenges to state authorities triggered by the military’s ousting in July of Islamist Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.

An al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Champions of Jerusalem), claimed responsibility for the attack on the police building, heightening fears that a low-level insurgency mainly confined to the Sinai Peninsula is breaking out and is now capable of striking at high-profile targets elsewhere at will.

“This is the first time the group has ever done a multi-pronged attack outside North Sinai,” says David Barnett, a researcher on jihadist groups at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.

“Since November ABM has been more focused on less frequent but more high profile attacks,” he added. “Since Morsi’s overthrow no other groups have shown the same capability and intent as Ansar Bayt al Maqdis.”

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