A car bomb exploded outside the Italian Consulate in downtown Cairo early Saturday morning, killing one and wounding 9 people. The explosion occurred at 6:20AM and was heard throughout Cairo.
The consulate was closed and there were no civilian staff members amongst the injured, reported AP.
This was the first attack on a foreign mission in Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations launched a violent campaign against security forces 2 years ago.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the large car bomb, saying in the statement that the car contained 450 kilogram (990 pounds) of explosives, reported Fox 10 News.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni issued a statement stating, “We stand close to people affected and to the staff, and Italy will not be intimated.” Italian Premier Matteo Renzi contacted President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressing Italy’s full support in Egypt’s fight against terrorism.
In the statement issued from Renzi’s office, he stated: “Italy knows that terrorism is an enormous challenge that deeply arks history in our time.” Continuing, “We will not leave Egypt alone: Italy and Egypt are and will always be together in the fight against terrorism.”
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemned the car bombing at the Italian Consulate, issuing a statement, saying: “We extend our condolences to the family of the victim of this attack and wish the injured a speedy recovery… We reiterate our steadfast support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism.”
Pope Francis showed support to Egypt in a telegram to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi saying, “political and religious players at all levels to unite their efforts to combat with ever more determination the plague of terrorism and to promote harmony and solidarity.”
European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini also condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Egypt. She stated, “Once again Egypt is under attack, once again Europeans have been hit by terrorists.”
“We stand by the Egyptian authorities in their efforts to fight terrorism and bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice,” she said.
Egypt has experienced an increase in terrorist attacks since June 29th, when top prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a bomb attack on his car on the way to work. On Wednesday, July 1st, 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed in North Sinai, when ISIS affiliate Sinai Province launched simultaneous attacks at five checkpoints with the intent to take and hold territory in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. On Thursday, 20 Egyptian policemen were injured when a roadside bomb in the volatile area of North Sinai hit their bus.
Egypt has been calling on the international community to work together in a united effort to combat global terrorism. Egypt has lost over 600 Egyptian military and police since Morsi was removed from power in 2013 following a mass uprising by the Egyptian people.
Tera Dahl is Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.