Bomb blast near Egypt court kills two, wounds 10, says government

Blood stains are seen on the ground as security officials inspect the scene of a car bomb blast in front of The High Court in downtown Cairo on Monday. At least eight people were wounded, security sources said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Blood stains are seen on the ground as security officials inspect the scene of a car bomb blast in front of The High Court in downtown Cairo on Monday. At least eight people were wounded, security sources said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CAIRO (AFP) - Two people were killed and 10 wounded, one critically, in a bomb explosion Monday outside the Egyptian supreme court in Cairo, the health ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said that a 22-year-old man "died of injuries sustained in his backbone" in the attack, adding that 10 other people were wounded.

Hospital officials said one of the wounded was a man in critical condition as the blast blew away part of his skull and brain.

The explosion appeared aimed at a police checkpoint near the court, a hospital official said.

The latest attack came a day after two civilians died in a bombing outside a police station in southern Egypt.

A worker in a nearby cafe said he ran out into the street after hearing a loud explosion. "I found three people lying on the ground covered in blood."

Police sealed off the area and swept it with sniffer dogs as ambulances tried to reach the site through a crowd of onlookers.

Militants have regularly set off bombs in the capital, mostly targeting police, since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi unleashed a deadly crackdown on his supporters.

It was the second time a bomb went off near the supreme court, after an explosion wounded 12 people in October last year.

Monday's explosion came days after a series of bombings in Cairo in which one person was killed.

Five bombs struck within hours, four of them near mobile phone service companies and a police station.

Most of the bombings in the capital have been rudimentary and caused no casualties.

But several have killed policemen, including two senior officers who died while trying to defuse bombs planted outside the presidential palace in June last year.

Those bombs and several others that killed policemen in Cairo were claimed by the Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) extremist group.

The deadliest attacks since Morsi's overthrow have been launched by the Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt, Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has killed scores of soldiers and policemen.

The organisation set up branches in the Nile Delta, targeting police headquarters in Cairo and other cities before a police crackdown last year.

extremists, who have focused their attacks on security forces, are also believed to be planning attacks on embassies of countries that have backed the former army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, according to officials.

Sisi was elected to office in May 2014 pledging to eradicate the militants, but he has had limited success, especially against the Sinai insurgency.

On Jan 29, simultaneous car bombings and mortar attacks on security headquarters in the peninsula killed at least 30 people, most of them soldiers.