UPDATE: Four bombings so far — Al Qaeda-linked group launches bombing campaign in Cairo on 3rd anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.

Egyptian police officers and firefighters gather at the Egyptian police headquarters after a blast in downtown Cairo on Friday, January 24, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)

Egyptian police officers and firefighters gather at the Egyptian police headquarters after a blast in downtown Cairo on Friday, January 24, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)

>> Fourth bombing hits Cairo

Earlier this week, this column suggested we keep a close eye on the Egyptian-born terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2014, and argued that the al Qaeda network he leads is on the rise, rather than in retreat as the U.S. administration has argued.

This morning we got a fresh reminder of just how much the al Qaeda world is on the move.

“Three bombings hit high-profile areas around Cairo on Friday, including a suicide car bomber who struck the city’s police headquarters, killing five people in the first major attack on the Egyptian capital as insurgents step up a campaign of violence following the ouster of the Islamist president,” reports the Associated Press.

“An al-Qaeda-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, claimed responsibility for the first attack on its Twitter page,” noted AP. “The attacks bore the hallmarks of the Islamic extremist group that has increasingly targeted police and the military since the July 3 coup against Mohammed Morsi and a fierce crackdown on his supporters led by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“The explosions struck as the country was on high alert ahead of the third anniversary of the January 25 start of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak,” the AP added. “Morsi’s supporters had vowed to use the event to gain momentum in their efforts turn to a new momentum to ‘break the coup.’ Friday’s violence began when a suicide bomber rammed a car into cement blocks surrounding the main Egyptian police headquarters in the heart of Cairo, killing at least four people and sending billows of black smoke into the sky. The blast also tore through nearby buildings, including the renowned Museum of Islamic Art.”

Please pray for the people of Cairo.

Sadly, I suspect there is more al Qaeda violence to come there, and throughout the region.

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