A damaged bus at the site of a bomb blast near Al Azhar University campus in Nasr City district yesterday.
CAIRO: A bomb exploded near a bus in Cairo yesterday injuring five people, a day after the government widened a crackdown on Islamists by declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
The windows of the red and black public transport bus were shattered in the explosion at a busy intersection in the north Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City.
Police defused a second bomb and cordoned off the area.
The interior ministry said the attack was meant to intimidate voters ahead of a referendum next month on a new constitution, billed as the first step in a democratic transition ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.
A police general, Mohammed Gamal, showed a defused pipe bomb to reporters, saying it had been placed in a billboard and was primed to explode when police arrived at the site of the first bombing.
“It was set to go off remotely,” interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said, adding the bombs were “meant to terrorise people before the referendum”.
A witness described scenes of panic after the attack.
“I was 100 metres away when I heard the explosion. I came running to help the wounded,” said one witness, Mahmud Abd Al Al, a construction worker.
“They were covered in blood. One man lost a leg,” he said.
A health ministry official said five people were wounded in the attack. The Brotherhood, which organises near daily protests demanding Mursi’s reinstatement, insists it is peaceful and has condemned militant attacks.
The bombing in Cairo appears to be the first against civilians, although it could have been meant for another target and exploded prematurely.
A suicide bomber had set off a car bomb in September in the same neighbourhood in an attempt to assassinate interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim as his convoy passed by.AFP