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Egypt ‘ignored warnings of imminent attack’ before deadly blast

Egyptian authorities ignored warnings from Western intelligence services that militants were planning an attack in downtown Cairo, diplomatic sources have said.

The Western diplomats told The New Arab‘s Arabic-language service on Wednesday that the Egyptian government disregarded the warnings that may have prevented the huge blast outside the main cancer hospital in Cairo that killed 20 people.

The sources said that the temporary cancellation of flights to Cairo by British Airways and Lufthansa last month was linked by the warnings.

“The Egyptian-British security coordination committee informed the Egyptians that it had received almost certain information regarding contacts between extremists to carry out an attack in the heart of Cairo,” they were quoted as saying.

According to the sources, Egyptian officials blew off the warnings, arguing that security precautions were adequate in the capital.

On Monday, a car packed with explosives being driven to carry out an attack elsewhere collided with other vehicles and exploded in central Cairo.

The blast took place close to the Garden City district, which is home to many embassies including the British and US.

Egypt has accused Hasm, a militant group linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, saying it was moving a car stolen in the Nile Delta to carry out an attack elsewhere.

Hasm has denied responsibility.

Egypt has seen a surge in attacks targeting security forces since a 2013 military coup against the country’s first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptian authorities have led a crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood members after the military overthrow, killing and imprisoning thousands.

Morsi, who had been imprisoned in poor conditions since the coup, collapsed and died in a Cairo courtroom in June.


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