"We know that there are elements within Hamas who want a confrontation
with Egypt," a security source said. "They are encouraged by Iran and
The sources and analysts said the makeshift bombing in the popular
tourist area of Cairo was not the work of Al Qaida. They said the IED, which
weighed 1.5 kilogram, was a crude bomb that reflected rudimentary skills.
"I think they are Islamist beginners," Egyptian political analyst Diaa
In 2008, Egypt appeared to have blocked the reemergence of Al
Qaida-aligned groups. The regime of President Hosni Mubarak won the
cooperation of several imprisoned insurgency leaders, and they responded
renouncement of violence in the name of Islam as well as a truce offer to
the United States.
The semi-official Egyptian daily Al Masaiya reported that Egyptian
security agencies were searching for three Palestinians linked to Hamas. The
newspaper said security forces have increased checkpoints in and around
On Feb. 24, Egypt's official Al Ahram daily reported that security
agencies believed a small Islamist cell was responsible for the bombing. The
newspaper, disputing other accounts, said the bomb was placed on a marble
bench in the Cairo market rather than thrown from a balcony toward
The analysts said Hamas operatives and supporters have been streaming
into the Cairo area over the last 18 months. They said some of them were
able to finance pro-Hamas activities by Egyptian Islamists.
"This could spark a new wave of terrorism in Egypt," former Egyptian
Security chief director Gen. Fuad Alam said.