Three homemade bombs went off near Egypt's presidential palace on Monday, killing two senior police officers and injuring 10 other people on the anniversary of mass protests that led to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi as president.
The devices were planted less than 20 yards from the walls of the Ittihadiya Palace in the upscale Heliopolis district in eastern Cairo, in what appeared to be a serious security breach in the heavily policed area.
It was not immediately clear whether President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who as army chief ousted Morsi last summer, was inside the palace when the explosions occurred.
In a nationally televised speech from the palace later, el-Sissi said the government will spare no effort to go after the culprits and will issue legislation to deter those seeking to destabilize the country.
"On this day ... the first anniversary of the June 30 revolution, black terrorism is still trying to stand in front of the will of Egyptians and their hopes and aspirations," he said in remarks apparently prerecorded at the palace near the site of the explosions.
The militant group Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, that is sympathetic to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed responsibility for the blasts in a statement dated Monday on its Twitter account, according to Reuters.
Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, said it planted explosives near the palace on June 18 to hit its security contingent. But the group, which claimed responsibility for explosions at Cairo University in April, said it aborted the attack because civilians came close to the explosives. It said its operatives were unable to retrieve the devices but have been diverting civilians away from them. The statement's claims could not be verified and it was not clear if the assertions were connected to Monday's blasts.
Security officials said the first bomb to go off Monday slightly wounded three street cleaners, while a second and third exploded while bomb squad teams were trying to defuse them, killing a police colonel and a lieutenant-colonel, and wounding seven other people. Another device in the area was discovered and safely defused, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Security forces sealed off roads leading to the palace.
n the other side of town, security forces sealed off Tahrir Square, the focal point of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, to search for explosives. Celebrations that had been planned for later in the day to commemorate the start of several days of protests last year in which millions demanded Morsi step down, were cancelled amid tight security. The protests culminated in Morsi's removal by the military on July 3.