Media still pondering bizzare market bombing

The 22 February 2009 bombing in the popular Khan El-Khalili market, in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which left one person dead and over 20 wounded, has left the Egyptian media still pondering over the bizzare incident.Almost all the major Egyptian newspapers carried headline news of the bombing in which a home-made bomb killed a 17-year-old French girl and wounded some 19 other French students as well as Egyptians and Saudis in the popular bazaar area frequented by tourists.

“The blast in Al-Hussein on Sunday indicates the fragile security situation in Egypt and shows how easy it has become to commit acts of violence,” wrote Khalil AlAnani, a leading political analyst in Egypt, in the Daily News Egypt.

He argued that Egypt was witnessing the rise of new tactics in violence. “It seems we are witnessing a new type of terrorism that can best be described as random individu al terrorism. It is a pattern indicating the absence of a large organization tak i ng responsibility for these operations.”

The Egyptian government was quick to act following the blast, arresting three people almost immediately. Then, government officials went on television, blaming the Taliban and others for the attack, although analysts here doubted their statement.

Anani says “it is most likely that a small extremist group, made up of four or five members who share a violent ideology and seeking to implement it on the ground, that could be behind the attacks, making it very difficult for security bodies to track them down.”

Egypt’s blogosphere has been even more forthcoming with theories. Many opposition activists argue that the government itself could be behind the attack, citing the new anti-terrorism bill, much like the American PATRIOT Act, which was expected to be voted upon next week.

“Nothing better to justify the passing of such a publicly despised law than to have a nice explosion a few days before its passing,” wrote pro-American blogger Sandmonkey on his blog following the events.

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