Cairo hospital bomber identified

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Egypt’s interior ministry identified the perpetrator behind a car bombing outside Cairo’s main cancer hospital that killed more than 20 and injured dozens.

It added security forces killed 17 suspected militants during raids on hideouts in three separate incidents in Helwan, Cairo and in Fayoum province, south of Cairo.

The ministry said the bomber was a member of militant group Hasm and identified him as fugitive 24-year-old Abdel Rahman Khaled Mahmoud Abdel Rahman.

“This was confirmed following DNA testing of remains found at the site of the accident and based on comparison with members of his family’s DNA,” the statement said.

Last Monday, a car packed with explosives was driving against traffic and blew up outside the hospital.

It said the militants targeted belonged to “Hasm’s terrorist cluster cell.”

Egypt accuses Hasm, which emerged in 2016 and claimed several attacks, of being a wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement denies this and says it seeks change through peaceful means.

The ministry said the suspects were killed in gun battles, but did not elaborate on their identity or whether there had been any casualties or injuries among the security forces.

Weapons and explosives were found at the scene of the shootouts, the ministry said.

A Reuters investigation in April found Egyptian security forces shot dead hundreds of suspected militants in what the Interior Ministry said were gun battles, but which bereaved families said were extrajudicial executions.

Human rights organisations accuse Egypt of carrying out extrajudicial executions and trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the matter of human rights should be treated in the context of regional turbulence and the struggle against terrorism. Strong security measures, he said, are needed to stabilise Egypt after the turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Egypt’s military and police launched a major campaign against militant groups in 2018, focusing on the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the Libyan border.