|Wikileaks:||View 05CAIRO2744 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PTER ASEC CASC KCRM EG Explosion|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002744 SIPDIS NEA FOR DAS DIBBLE, AND FOR NEA/ELA; DS FOR JOE MORTON AND FOR DSS AND IP/NEA; ALSO FOR CA AND S/CT E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2015 TAGS: PTER, ASEC, CASC, KCRM, EG, Explosion SUBJECT: APRIL 7 CAIRO BOMBING: EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING REF: CAIRO 2743 Classified by Charge Gordon Gray for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) The Charge convened the Embassy's Emergency Action Committee on April 8 at 12 noon local to discuss the April 7 bombing incident at Cairo's Khan el-Khalili tourist bazaar in the early evening of April 7. Attending the meeting were the A/DCM, RSO, LEGATT, ORA, CONS, ECPO, OMC, DATT, NCIS, RMO, PA, AGATT, DEA, MGT, MSG, AID, NAMRU, and CLO. ------------ The Incident ------------ 2. (SBU) The EAC reviewed information gathered by Embassy personnel, including officers from RSO, CONS, and LEGATT dispatched to the bomb scene immediately after the attack. The attack occurred at approximately 1745 local on April 7 on Gawhar al-Qaed street in the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo's most famous and popular tourist bazaar. The blast site is .18 miles due west of the al-Hussein mosque, the biggest landmark in the area. 3. (C) Our best information currently indicates four fatalities, including one AmCit, one French national, and two others, still unidentified, one of whom is believed to be the bomber. The dead AmCit has been identified as Alex Mirandette. 17-20 others were injured in the event, including three AmCits. After strenuous lobbying by CONS, the three AmCits were moved in the early hours on April 8 from the decrepit Hussein Hospital, near the blast scene, to Dar al-Fuad hospital, one of Egypt's best, in Six October City, just west of Cairo. Of the three wounded AmCits, 19 year-old Erik Mirandette, brother of deceased Alex, is in critical condition - in addition to multiple shrapnel wounds, he has an apparent puncture to his kidney. The others, Kris Ross and Michael Kiel (Tenhaaf) are stable. CONS has made notifications to the parents of the Mirandette brothers and Kris Ross and the mother of Michael Kiel. Kiel and Ross have given verbal privacy act waivers for notification of families. Mirandette has not been lucid enough to do so. Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif visited those wounded in the attack on the morning of April 8. Family members of the AmCits are due to arrive in Cairo April 9 and 10 and will be met and assisted by Consular staff. 3. (C) In an interview with A/LEGATT, Kris Ross, one of the wounded AmCits, stated that they had been walking in the Khan when he noticed out of the corner of his eye an individual carrying a large green bucket and trying to light something in the bucket. Seconds later, the explosion occurred. Ross's account is consistent with the shrapnel wounds, (nails, glass, and bits of burned green plastic) and other observations from the blast scene. -------------------------- Observations/Investigation -------------------------- 4. (C) The indications suggest the use of a low-tech improvised explosive device (IED), delivered manually, apparently by one perpetrator. Details of observations by RSO and LEGATT are provided septel. Reports that the bomb was delivered by a passing motorcyclist or vehicle appear to be inaccurate. 5. (C) RSO noted that the State Security Investigations Service, the lead GOE agency in the investigation, has collected debris from the area for analysis at their laboratory. LEGATT noted that the crime scene must be considered contaminated, with the parade of journalists, police, and onlookers that that have congregated at and around the site. LEGATT has offered technical/forensic assistance in the investigation to GOE counterparts, but our expectation, based on past experience, is that self-confidence and national pride will preclude Egyptian acceptance of this offer. At the same time, ORA noted that GOE counterparts have so far been open and cooperative with us, although they seem to be suffering from some coordination problems. ORA added that, contrary to some reports in the media, no suspects have been taken into custody as of mid-day April 8. ----------------------- Targetting/Implications ----------------------- 6. (C) It is obvious that the principal targets in the attack were western foreigners. The time selected for the attack, close to 1800, is a time favored by foreigners, rather than Egyptians, to frequent the Khan. As consistent with previous terrorist attacks in Egypt, the tourism industry, and ultimately the GOE, must be considered targets as well. There are not yet any indications that Americans, as opposed to westerners, were specifically targetted in this attack, but this possibility cannot be ruled out. Initial reactions on Arabic media, and anecdotal reports, indicate that the Egyptian public is worried by this development and believes it will have a negative impact on Egypt's tourism industry, which had a record year in 2004. 7. (C) The use of a low-tech IED in this incident suggests that the perpetrator(s) could have been operating alone or in a small group, and would not require significant resources, training, expertise, or outside support. This observation cuts two ways: On the one hand, there is no indication that the "enemy" in this case is sophisticated or well organized, and may be an isolated individual. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to effectively defend against free-lance, "copy-cat" bombers, and materials for such attacks are readily available. The Embassy is unaware of any claims of responsibility for this attack. ------------------ American Community ------------------ 8. (SBU) On the evening of April 7, CONS issued a warden message to the American community in Egypt notifying them of the event and advising Americans to stay away from the Khan area, until further notice, to be especially vigilant, and to avoid areas of Cairo where large numbers of tourists congregate. (Reftel includes the text.) RSO distributed the identical message to members of the U.S. mission. CONS advised that has received managable number of inquiries from community members and concerned relatives in the U.S. 9. (SBU) CLO observed that the reaction of the American community in Cairo has so far been calm. She has thus far not received many inquiries. RSO reviewed a number of community events taking place over the weekend, and advised that it has requested, and will receive, augmented security support from the GOE. RSO is also dispatching surveillance detection teams, as appropriate, to provide extra coverage for these events. Charge urged that all EAC members, and their staffs, be vigilant in communicating with the American community and controlling rumors. -------------- Media Reaction -------------- 10. (SBU) Reporting in the international and Egyptian media has so far been factual, balanced, and generally accurate, although there have been some discrepencies in reports of casualty figures. The Egyptian media, which is only beginning to digest the story, has so far offered little in the way of speculation on the motives and perpetrators of the attack, although a number of reports have communicated the concerns of ordinary Egyptians, particularly those connected to the tourist industry, that foreigners will now view Egypt as a "dangerous country." The Embassy's Public Affairs section has received numerous inquiries, particularly from wire services such as AP and Reuters. 11. (U) We sent proposed points for the media to PA, NEA, et. al. via unclassified email. ---------------- Next EAC Meeting ---------------- 12. (C) The Charge thanked EAC members, particularly from the CONS, RSO, and LEGATT sections, for working overnight on this incident. He called for a follow up EAC meeting to be held on April 10 at 0930 local; This meeting will focus in particular on the mood of the private and official American communities. Visit Embassy Cairo's Classified Website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/cairo You can also access this site through the State Department's Classified SIPRNET website. GRAY
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