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Journalists Arrested for Covering Cairo Car Bomb Explosion outside the Italian Centre

"Photos from explosion at the Italian center," tweets journalist @degner, who was among those arrested today for covering the bomb blast in downtown Cairo

“Photos from explosion at the Italian center,” tweets journalist David Degner, @degner, who was among those arrested today for covering the bomb blast in downtown Cairo

One person was killed and several were injured when a car bomb was detonated outside the Italian Centre, in downtown Cairo, early this morning.

The blast is one of a spate of bombings to rock Egypt following the ousting of Egypt's former president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. Hundreds of people, mostly police officers and army guards, have been killed in such attacks, usually blamed on Islamist militants. Egypt's Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed after suffering injuries in a car bomb that targeted his convoy two weeks ago.

Today's explosion took place in the early morning, on a weekend, during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, in busy congested Cairo, which explains the lower number of casualties. The powerful explosion was heard across the city, several miles away. Journalists were among the the first at the site of the blast, and reports say that at least four foreign journalists were arrested and later on released for covering the blast.

One of the first journalists at the site of the bomb blast was Wael Mamdooh, who tweeted what he witnessed to his 14.1K followers on Twitter. He tweets:

Smoke bellowing from the scene and sounds of police sirens and ambulances in the downtown

He also shares this video from the aftermath of the explosion:

The remains of the car which caused the explosion on Ramsis Street in midtown Cairo

Journalists Harassed and Arrested:

Mamdooh narrates this exchange he had with a police officer, highlighting how he was harassed while carrying out his duty:

I arrived at the Italian Consulate a few minutes after the explosion. I was stopped by a police officer who asked: “What are you doing?” I told him I was a journalist. And after a long suspicious look, he asked me a smart question: “Why are you taking photographs?”

Other journalists weren't as lucky. As Omar Elhadi explains:

The police have left everything and has arrested a foreigner taking photographs

The photographer arrested was David Degner, who takes photographs from Getty Reportage. In a series of tweets, Degner shares some photographs from the scene of the blast, and explains what happened to him:

Why were the journalists targeted:

Many wondered why journalists were arrested. Degner offers:

Dalia Ezzat offers:

And Her Randomness adds:

And do they assume that if they arrest the journalists we will believe their official version?

The Official Version:

On Egyptian State TV, a “conspiracy” on what may have happened today was scorned by netizens.

Sarah El Sirgany notes:

And El Sirgany's tweet was naturally met with skepticism:

For more on today's bombing check out our continuous coverage on Global Voices Checkdesk.

  • nunya

    I could take a knife from Egypt and use it to stab someone in the U.S. That doesn’t mean there is an Egyptian conspiracy against the U.S.

  • mickboulder

    what hurts the Egyptian government image more: a photo of a bombed out embassy OR the arrest of the people reporting about the bombing? any sane and normal person interested in a free society would most likely choose the arrests of reporters.

  • Who

    @nunya .. yeah right! .. a knife from Egypt, manufactured in China .. lol

    Egypt = country of jokers

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