A bomb blast just 100 meters from a Cairo presidential palace wounded a female passer-by early Thursday, just hours after a train bomb killed three people, security officials said.
Meanwhile, the UN’s top human rights body took Egypt to task Wednesday for a litany of rights abuses, including its crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamme Mursi, journalists and activists.
The blast struck near a palace in the northeast of Cairo which is rarely used by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the architect of Mursi’s overthrow, whose main office is in another palace in the capital.
The bystander suffered only minor injuries from the crude bomb, which was planted under a bridge, interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif told AFP.
The new bombing followed an attack on a train north of the Egyptian capital late on Wednesday which killed two policemen and a civilian.
The policemen had been inspecting the rudimentary bomb after the train, in the Menufiya province north of Cairo, stopped at a station when the explosive went off, the officials said.
The bomb exploded as police evacuated passengers from the carriage, also wounding 11 people, state television reported.
Another small bomb exploded about an hour later in a Cairo metro station, wounding three people, the state-run Al-Ahram news portal reported.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.
Egypt has faced a growing Islamist insurgency since July 2013 when the army ousted elected Mursi following mass protests and cracked down hard on his Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamist militants are based mainly in the Sinai Peninsula, where at least 33 soldiers were killed last month near the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the army to close Rafah crossing and create a buffer zone along the border.
More than 500 people, mostly soldiers and police, have been killed in militant attacks, according to government statistics. Hundreds of Islamists have been killed in the government crackdown and many thousands more jailed.
The Muslim Brotherhood maintains it is a peaceful movement and has denied involvement in recent anti-state violence.
Egypt crackdowns on protesters under fire at UN
As Sisi’s government continues to tighten its military grip on the country, the UN’s top human rights body took Egypt to task Wednesday for a litany of rights abuses, including its crackdown on supporters of ousted Mursi, journalists and activists.
At a review before the UN Human Rights Council that all member states must go through every four years, Turkey and Tunisia said basic rights had been cut back in Egypt since the army’s overthrow of elected Islamist president Mursi in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Turkey, whose own Islamist-based government had close ties with the now jailed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, pointed to what it called a “systematic and widespread use of unlawful lethal force by the (Egyptian) security forces…
“The continuing mass imposition of death sentences, without respect for the right to a fair trial of the defendants, is alarming,” a Turkish envoy told the Council hearing.
Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said the situation is unprecedented and urged the council to order an international probe into the crackdown, mass arrests and unfair trials.
But Egypt hit back, insisting that Sisi’s government had made human rights a priority since toppling Mursi in June last year.
“The prioritization of human rights is at the core of the political life of the new administration,” Egyptian Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim el-Heneidy told the council.
“Egypt will fulfil its international obligations,” he said.
But several doubts were voiced.
US envoy Keith Harper cited in particular the government’s crackdown on Mursi supporters in July and August 2013 that “resulted in a large number of deaths of Egyptian citizens.”
“We are concerned about the lack of accountability for those accused of human rights abuses” in these incidents, he told the council.
Britain’s Karen Pierce raised concern over “the numbers of detainees in pre-trial detention, reports of mistreatment or torture, use of mass trials and trial irregularities (and) retention of the death penalty.”
She also decried “the decreasing space for civil society and the media to operate.”
Sweden’s representative meanwhile highlighted “the precarious situation of women in Egypt,” calling for legislative reform to “combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence.”
Seven Egyptian non-governmental organizations announced Wednesday that they would not participate in the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, which all 193 UN countries must undergo every four years, saying they feared anyone who spoke against the Cairo authorities would face persecution back home.
Cairo has set a November 10 deadline for all NGOs to register with the government, in a move activists warn will deal a death blow to the country’s civil society.
“Civil society is on the verge of disappearing,” warned Philippe Dam of Human Rights Watch.
Nicholas Piachaud of Amnesty warned via video link that many people in Egypt were facing “grossly unfair trials.” while others were disappearing and “torture is once again rife.”
“All of these things are happening against the backdrop of rampant discrimination,” he said, demanding “robust action” from the council.
Sisi has vowed to eradicate the Islamist movement, which continues to hold small protests.
Sisi’s government began clamping down on Mursi supporters after the Islamist president was ousted, leaving at least 1,400 dead and more than 15,000 jailed.
Hundreds have also been sentenced to death after often speedy trials.
But many of the leading secular activists behind the 2011 uprising have also found themselves on the wrong side of the new political leadership, facing charges for taking part in peaceful demonstrations after Sisi banned unlicensed protests.
Late October, Sisi approved of a military decree, similar to martial law implemented at the time of ousted Hosni Mubarak, to expand military power under the pretext of “ensuring stability.”
Ending martial law throughout the country, which gives the authorities wide-ranging policing powers, was one of the demands of the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak in 2011 and paved the way for Islamist Mursi’s election a year later.