A car filled with explosives blasted and collided with other vehicles outside a cancer hospital on Monday in the centre of Egypt’s capital Cairo, killing at least 20 people and injuring 47.
The explosion occurred at midnight on the busy Corniche boulevard along the Nile River.
A man named Hasm, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood group, was driving the car with the bomb late on Sunday, intending to carry out a militant attack elsewhere in the country. However he went the wrong way and slammed into three others, with the crash setting off the bomb and causing the explosion.
The attack is the deadliest in Cairo in more than two years.
According to the authorities, it was first believed that the explosion was caused by the multi-vehicle accident. But later on Monday, the Interior Ministry confirmed a car bomb was the main reason. It was not immediately clear which vehicle contained the explosives.
Calling it a “terrorist incident” in a tweet, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi shared his condolences for the dead and vowed to “face and root out terrorism.”
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Egyptian people and to the families of the martyrs who were killed in the cowardly terrorist incident in the Qasr Al-Aini area yesterday evening.”
A witness, Nermat al-Awady, said: “I was waiting to use a bathroom inside the hospital around 12.30am when I heard a big explosion.
“We ran to the main entrance of the hospital but it was on fire, so we left through another side door.”
According to the Interior Ministry, the cancer hospital didn’t appear to be the intended target of the bombing.
Authorities sent 42 ambulances to help the injured people. The Health Ministry said 54 people were evacuated from inside the cancer institute and transferred to other hospitals.
After the blast, some patients with appointments on Monday were left stranded.
> Puza Sarker Snigdha
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