Three explosions struck the Egyptian capital on Friday, killing at least five people and injuring almost 60, on the eve of the third anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak.
At 6.30am a powerful car bomb exploded outside the Cairo police headquarters, killing at least four people and injuring 50. Several hours later, an explosion targeted police vehicles near an underground station in western Cairo, leaving numerous injured, according to police officials cited by local media. Later a third blast outside a police station in Giza caused no casualties
The first attack, described as a suicide bombing, sheered off the façade of the Cairo Security Directorate, a massive compound at the centre of the capital, and shattered its windows. Blast reverberations shook buildings miles away. Images on state television showed bystanders and police employees rushing to dig victims out of the debris. State media alleged a driver in an explosives-laden pick-up truck made their way past a key checkpoint during a changing of the guard and managed to position the vehicle near the building.
State media and witnesses reported that crowds of onlookers began chanting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood organisation of Mohamed Morsi, the deposed president whose July 3 toppling ignited a simmering insurgency.
Since the removal of Mr Morsi, escalating attacks have targeted security officials, including a bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura last month that left 16 dead.
Friday’s attack came a day after masked gunmen on motorcycles killed five Egyptian police officers at a checkpoint in Bani Suef, 100km south of the capital, as part of a campaign targeting security officials.
There were no claims of responsibility. An al-Qaeda inspired organisation called Ansar Beit Maqdis, meaning the Partisans of the House of Jerusalem, has said it was behind most of the previous bombings and shootings, including a failed assassination attempt against the interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim.
The bombings came less than a week after the formal adoption of a new constitution meant to restore order and stability in the country. It also coincided with the eve of Egypt’s annual day commemorating the country’s law enforcement officials, Police Day.
Years of alleged abuse by police and security forces prompted the January 25 2011 protests that led 18 days later to the downfall of president Mubarak and the start of a period of political and economic uncertainty characterised by three referendums on constitutional change and parliamentary and presidential elections that elevated Islamists to power in a poll later annulled by the military and its allies in the judiciary.
Supporters of Mr Morsi have called for demonstrations during the January 25 commemorations. At least one person was killed on Thursday in the port city of Alexandria during one of the frequent confrontations between police and supporters of the ousted government.
Armed groups including Ansar Beit Maqdis appear to have stepped up attacks on security forces, with attacks outside their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula growing more frequent.
Human rights groups allege the security forces, held in check in the months after the 2011 uprising, have grown bolder and more brutal since the popularly-backed toppling of the Morsi government. A report issued on Thursday by Amnesty International alleged “unprecedented” violence by state officials targeting Islamists and critics of the military-backed government in the seven months since the coup.
“Egypt is headed firmly down the path towards further repression and confrontation,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the organisation, was quoted as saying in the report. “Unless the authorities change course and take concrete steps to show they respect human rights and the rule of law, starting with the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience, Egypt is likely to find its jails packed with unlawful detained prisoners and its morgues and hospitals with yet more victims of arbitrary and abusive force by its police.”
The Ultimate American Road Trip: Route 66
If you’re looking for the omega American road trip then you’ve got to hit the Mother Road, otherwise known as Route 66. From Chicago to LA, it’s a journey that’ll provide the experience of a lifetime, showing you the heart of a great nation.
Start in Chicago & Chase the Sun
In reality, the best always head west. Would you rather end the trip in the Windy City, or just in time to catch a gorgeous L.A. sunset on the beach? There’s just something deeply spiritual for folks when we head west. It becomes an adventure. It becomes a vehicular voyage to the sea. Here are some of the highlights you can expect in order:
• Illinois: It’s a pretty straight shot through the state from Chicago through Springfield (which has some stretches of restored Route 66) and southwest to St. Louis. There’s a bit of the bright lights of big cities, but also a good calm stretch of rural to cruise through as well; vast fields of corn and farmland for close to 300 miles.
• Missouri: Once you hit East St. Louis you’ll again be greeted by sky scrapers, industrial areas and the mark of modernity but then it’s another SE straight shot through the entire belly of the state.
• Kansas: You’re only going to spend a little time in the good’ol Kansas heartland. And by little we mean a whopping 14 miles far down in the bottom south east corner. You’ll go through two towns: Galena and Baxter Springs but rest assured there’s great classic restaurants and places that’ve been open as long as Route 66 has been around. In fact, it’s because of road tripper like you just passin’on through that keep’em goin.
• Oklahoma: You’re going to go through two huge metropolises that have “country” written all over’em: Tulsa first and then into Oklahoma City before heading directly west towards the Pan Handle. Of all 8 states, it’s here that they take Route 66 the most seriously. It’s got the most preserved still-drivable miles and you’ll be able to see the remnants of Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Native American land. And, you’ll get to take the same route as families long ago in the Dust Bowl took to escape.
• Texas: You’re going to go through the upper tip of the Texas Pan Handle that takes you through Amarillo. It looks short on a map but the 200-mile stretch of plains is a sight to behold like none other. If you can time it so you cut through here in the afternoon on a sunny day your spirit will be recharged. Just try not to pay any attention to all the truckers!
• New Mexico: Welcome to the Land of Enchantment where you’ll pass through Sun Belt city and Albuquerque. These days, it can be a bit challenging to stay strictly on the old road but with all the sandstone mesas and pine forests it’s definitely worth it.
• Arizona: In Arizona you’ll stay in the northern plains rather than heading down into the really hot areas around Phoenix. Instead, you’ll pass directly through Flagstaff which is a mountain town and where Northern Arizona University is located. The sights here are like a completely different world from everything you’ve seen so far, especially once you begin to head south right before passing into California. Oh, and because of the high speeds on the I-40, this will feel like one of those awesome car track days.
• California: Once you reach this point get ready to cruise through rolling hills, vineyards, orchards, stunning landscapes and then at Barstow you should begin smelling the sea. From San Bernardino and Pasadena to Santa Monica it’s simply breathtaking.
This is only a taste of the experience really. You’ve just got to get out and do it. There’s plenty of great resources online to keep you on track and if you have the time you don’t have to miss a thing. Enjoy!
Key Moments from Trump’s Impeachment Hearing
Heartbreaking; Another School Shooting Santa Clarita, CA
Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting leaves 2 students dead, multiple injured
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) — A 16-year-old boy shot five fellow students, two fatally, Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita before turning the .45-caliber handgun on himself, authorities said.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson said multiple 911 calls prompted firefighter-paramedics to respond about 7:40 a.m. to the school at 21900 Centurion Way.
Six students, including the gunman, were found in the quad suffering from gunshot wounds, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference. All six were transported to hospitals, where two of them, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, were later pronounced dead.
The surviving victims were described as two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy.
In a tweet, Henry Mayo Hospital said it had received four patients.
Their names were not immediately disclosed. The sheriff said the deceased girl’s parents were at the hospital. He was notified of the second fatality during a press conference at the school.
Gunman turns .45 caliber on himself
According to sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener, surveillance video “clearly” shows the suspect pulling a semi-automatic handgun out of his backpack in the quad and shooting five classmates before shooting himself in the head.
Thursday was the gunman’s 16th birthday, the captain said.
He was listed in grave condition at a hospital, according to Villanueva.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, authorities released a description of the suspect as a manhunt got underway. Heavily armed deputies and an armored SWAT vehicle were seen at a home near the school, but it was unclear if the house was connected to the investigation.
The high school remained on lockdown for hours after the incident. Shortly before 11 a.m., lockdowns were lifted at all campuses in the district, as well as Rosedell and Highland elementary schools.
Central Park, at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, was being used as a reunification point for parents and students, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Undersheriff Tim Murakami tweeted an apology to parents, saying investigators need to interview “every student at Saugus HS” before they can be released.
In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump was monitoring ongoing reports about the shooting.
“The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,” the statement said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted an expression of gratitude to the emergency responders.
“We simply should not have to fear for our kids’ lives when we drop them off at school,” the governor said. Addressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Newsom asked: “How many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”
Amid the chaos at the scene, the number of reported victims fluctuated throughout the morning. The sheriff later confirmed that six people were shot, including the gunman.