CAIRO (AP) — A bomb exploded outside Egypt’s largest and most prominent university in the country’s capital on Wednesday, wounding 10 people, including six policemen, the Interior Ministry said.
The bomb, described as a rudimentary device, went off following clashes between police and Islamist students who were protesting outside the sprawling campus, security officials said.
It was the second bombing outside Cairo University in the past six months. Egypt has faced regular militant attacks, mostly targeting security forces, since the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year. Militant groups say they are avenging a security crackdown on Islamists, while authorities blamed Morsi supporters for the violence. The Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails, denies the charges.
After Wednesday’s explosion, security forces quickly cordoned off the area, according to footage from private television stations. Security officials said explosive experts were combing the area.
The Interior Ministry said four of the wounded are officers and two are conscripts, while the remaining four are civilians.
Universities have been a center of protests since Morsi’s ouster. Earlier this month, clashes between pro-Morsi students and police erupted again on the first day of the school year at several Egyptian universities.
In April, three bombs exploded outside Cairo University’s main campus, killing a police general and wounding seven others, including several top police officers. The bombings came at the height of clashes between students and police near the university.
A group called Ajnad Misr, or “Egypt’s Soldiers,” claimed responsibility for the April bombing. In a statement, it said it was waging a campaign of retribution and that the slain police general had been involved in the killings of protesters. It said the attack also came in response to increased detentions of female protesters.
At least 16 Egyptian students were killed in campus protests last school year, according to the watchdog group Student Watch.
Hundreds of students and Brotherhood leaders have been arrested and put on trial for protesting, prompting an outcry from rights groups who say the arrest campaign was an attempt to muzzle dissent.
In one of the few trials of suspected militants, a Cairo court Wednesday sentenced 12, including a US-designated terrorist suspected of links to al-Qaeda, to life in prison on charges of plotting attacks against police, military, foreign missions and ships passing through the strategic Suez Canal. Thirteen others were sentenced to between seven and 15 years in prison, and one was acquitted.
Among the 12 sentenced to life is Muhammad Jamal el-Kashif, designated as a terrorist by the US State Department and added to a UN sanctions list of individuals suspected of links to al-Qaeda.
El-Kashif, arrested in 2012 in Egypt, is accused of setting up training camps for militants in Egypt and Libya. He was released from an Egyptian prison in 2011, following the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, when hundreds of militants who spent years in prisons were set free.
The US State Department designated el-Kashif a terrorist in 2013, saying he had trained in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and returned to Egypt in the 1990s when an Islamic insurgency against Mubarak was peaking. According to the US designation, el-Kashif has developed links to various al-Qaeda-related groups in the region, including in Yemen.
The UN said he is reported to have been involved in the attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 that killed the US ambassador and other staff.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.