ARAB LEAGUE CONDEMNS TERROR BOMBINGS IN EGYPT

CAIRO, Egypt, July 1- Three homemade bombs went off near Egypt’s presidential palace late Monday, killing two senior police officers and injuring 10 other people, on the anniversary of mass protests that led to the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The devices were planted less than 20 metres away from the walls of the Ittihadiya palace, in the upscale Heliopolis district in eastern Cairo, in what appeared to be a serious security breach in the heavily policed area.

It was not immediately clear whether President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who, as army chief, ousted Morsi last summer, was inside the palace, when the explosions occurred.

In a nationally televised speech from the palace later, el-Sisi said, the government will spare no effort to go after the culprits and will issue legislation to deter those seeking to destabilise the country.

He did not elaborate, but the government has drafted an anti-terrorism bill that has been delayed by criticism from human rights organisations and liberal politicians, as well as the absence of an elected parliament.

El-Sisi stressed that the fight is a regional one, in which he will be cooperating with Arab countries, pushing “new blood” into joint action.

“We will continue to defend our religion and we will deal firmly and forcefully with reactionary forces,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, which took place on the second day of the holy month of Ramadan.

Security officials said, the first bomb to go off Monday, slightly wounded three street cleaners, while a second and third exploded, while bomb squad teams were trying to defuse them, killing a police colonel and a lieutenant-colonel, and wounding seven other people. Another device in the area was discovered and safely defused, according to officials.

By late Monday, the square remained closed to traffic and no party took place amid tight security around all of its entrances.

Arab League Secretary-General, Dr. Nabeel Al-Arabi today, strongly condemned the terror bombings.

In a press statement, Dr. Arabi urged the perpetrators of the terror blast to be brought to justice, calling upon all Egyptian political forces to renounce violence and muster all efforts to push the democratic process forward, towards achieving security and stability.

SOURCE: BNA