CAIRO — A series of explosions across Cairo on Friday killed at least six people, injured scores of others and fueled fears that Islamist insurgents were bringing their battle against Egypt's military-backed government to the capital.
The four attacks, inaugurated by a massive early-morning vehicle bomb outside a central security headquarters, came despite tight security on the eve of the third anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Interim President Adli Mansour urged supporters of the government to come out to mark the occasion, which is also a holiday celebrating the nation's police force.
Mansour was quoted by state media as pledging to "root out" any group threatening state security. The interior minister had already pledged to deal harshly with any disruption of today's commemorations — a clear warning to supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, who also have vowed to take to the streets.
Clashes around the country Friday between security forces and Morsi's backers were reported to have left 14 other people dead.
A powerful explosion outside a police headquarters in downtown Cairo was the largest and deadliest of the day's blasts, killing at least four people. It shattered windows nearly half a mile away, carpeted the roadway with scorched debris and seriously damaged Cairo's recently renovated Museum of Islamic Art directly across the street.
About three hours later, a smaller blast occurred near a metro station a few miles away, killing one person, according to the Health Ministry. Shortly after that, a third explosion was reported near a police substation, with no reports of casualties. A fourth blast, in the early evening near a cinema, killed one person, state television said.
A claim of responsibility for all four attacks emerged late Friday from a Sinai-based militant group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem. However, the interim government has consistently blamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood for such attacks, even when another group claims responsibility. The government said it had identified three suspects but did not disclose any affiliations.
Attacks against the security forces are common in the Sinai Peninsula but are still a relative rarity in major Egyptian cities.