US embassy cable - 05CAIRO2744

APRIL 7 CAIRO BOMBING: EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING

Identifier: 05CAIRO2744
Wikileaks: View 05CAIRO2744 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Created: 2005-04-08 13:30:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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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