Friday, February 27, 2015

Egypt is a petri dish of terrorism innovation

A wave of explosions killed a passer-by and wounded at least nine other people early Thursday morning across the Nile from Cairo, raising alarms about a pattern of attacks by diffuse groups against retail stores.

An obscure group calling itself the Popular Resistance Movement claimed responsibility. Six bombs exploded on main arteries of the Giza district in what appeared to have been a well-coordinated attack. The ability to carry out the attacks highlighted the growing threat posed by such previously unknown outfits cropping up in Cairo and around the Nile Valley. NY Times

For those of us who live in Cairo, the waves of small scale attacks against Egypt's security apparatus in the past 18 months have been sideshow. Life continued normally. We take comfort that the majority of the casualties belong to the state. We, the civilian, can live our life normally in most parts. You have to be so unlucky to be a victim of these attacks as civilians.

Yesterdays' attack Cairo yesterday changed this equation.

Four mobile phone shops were attacked almost at the same time in a business district of Cairo. They fortunately did not produce any death casualties although we don't really know about the extent of the victims' injuries.

Another attack happened in a pizzeria in a working class enclave, which killed one worker of the place.

You can see the theme of the mobile phone shops attacks because they represent international brand (Vodafone (UK)/Etisalat (UAE)). However, a small pizzeria in a working class neighborhood really does not represent anything.

The various militant groups have always tried to maintain some sort of 'good relation' with the local populace by targeting just the security apparatus. It does not seem that the populace is returning the favor.

The massive support for Egyptian's Air Force retaliation over 21 beheaded Egyptian Coptic Christians also indicates that the majority of Egyptians are against the ideology that many of these militant groups subscribe to. The various militants group might have decided that their 'restraints' are not working and it is time to escalate.

We are all waiting for the other shoe to drop, an attack to a supermarket chain or a local market, that produce large number of casualties.

If this happens in the near future, then you can point back to yesterday's attack as a turning point.

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