And as the world was coming to grips with what was happening on the ground, Egypt's bloggers were quick at work, exchanging updates, information, analysis and concerns.
It all started when Zenobia posted a message on Twitter reporting that “There is some kind of explosion in Cafe at Al Azhar.” Minutes later Arabawy followed up with another confirming message which read: “Explosion in el-Mashhad el-Husseini Street, Cairo.”
Moftasa was the first to guess a link between the bombings and a new controversial anti-terrorism law, which will be discussed within days in the Egyptian parliament. The draft law was met by wide objections.
Nothing was confirmed yet, and rumors were circulating; however, Zeinobia was trying to gather updates from different sources Newspapers and TV channels in a quick but comprehensive roundup.
The Arabist, who was near the area and heard both explosions himself, wrote:
Am hearing reports of a bomb going off in the medieval part of Cairo near Khan al-Khalili, a major tourist destination. Will update as more news is available.
Update: Al Jazeera reporting 11 deaths, three Egyptians, three Germans, one French, 16 wounded, one french dead these and others remain to be confirmed.
Update 2: Already activists are saying this is conveniently close to next month when the Emergency Law is to be discussed in parliament…
Update 3: Four dead (German and French), 12 wounded, various nationalities.
moftasa then posts a link to a photograph from the blast area on Twitter.
And while Msfour, and American expat living in Cairo, was the first to ask bloggers on Twitter to use the tag #cairobomb, Arabawy was the first to ask bloggers to use a unified delicious tag: El-HusseinExplosion to pool all links under the same URL.
Yassary Masry [Ar], Carl, Msfour, Maree, Rob, SandMonkey and Grey wool Knickers were among the first to blog about the incident, whether to comfort their friends and families or to discuss if they think there is a connection between the bombings and the anti-terrorism law or not. Grey wool Knickers wrote a short note connecting the last events happening in Egypt, trying to relate them to the recent bombings:
As several people have noted, this comes at a very suspicious time, considering that the extension of the State of Emergency (in place since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, with a brief break during Sadat’s presidency) was just about to be considered once again. Mubarak’s government has been promising for years to come forth with an anti-terrorism law to replace martial law, which would at least give citizens some protection under Egypt’s constitution. The regime is currently able to invoke the Emergency Law to do whatever it wants, which is what readers here will recognize in the abuction of Philip Rizk and Diaa Gad, among many others. With the changes afoot in US and Israeli administrations—along with increasingly vocal, powerful and interconnected resistance groups, domestically and across the border in Gaza—it seems the aging Mubarak regime is getting nervous and finds little option to maintain its grip on power but to resort to a strategy of tension. I think the recent release of celebrated political prisoner Ayman Nour should be considered as evidence of the panic roiling the upper echelons of this dictatorship. For developing news on this event, check this delicious feed.
Until the writing of this post it has been confirmed that a 21-year-old French girl was killed, and around 20 people of different nationalities were injured. However, it still seems to be pretty early to jump into conclusions about who is responsible for the blast.