CAIRO: Egyptian police on Tuesday arrested a man after an explosive device detonated near the US embassy in Cairo.
Dramatic video footage showed the man walking near the embassy when the black backpack he is wearing appears to explode.
A security source told Arab News that the suspected attacker was Ayman Abdel-Samie, a 24-year old from Giza. The source said he was arrested after his bag containing a bottle of chemicals exploded.
"Preliminary investigations suggest that he embraces some extremist ideas and was intending to use them to commit an act of aggression,” a statement from Egypt's state information service said.
Another video shows him being held by a group of people and giving his name and that he is aged 24. Other reports said he threw a crude device towards the concrete security barriers of the embassy.
The man was also shown stripped to his underwear and blindfolded as security officers interrogated him.
With an air of confidence, the man says: “ Listen to me and I will tell you what happened.”
The US Embassy said it was “aware of a reported incident” near the embassy and advised American citizens to avoid the area.
A witness told Reuters that she heard a blast and then saw a man with a backpack that had caught on fire close to the Semiramis Hotel.
[1 of 3]— US Embassy Cairo (@USEmbassyCairo) September 4, 2018
• We are aware of a reported incident on Simon Bolivar Street in Cairo. Please avoid the area and monitor local media for updates. We are aware of reports that public transportation near the area has been disrupted due to the incident. Please exercise caution.
The man was then thrown to the ground by security forces as the fire was extinguished, the witness said.
According to leaked information from the preliminary investigation, the accused belonged to a cell that follows a similar ideology to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and that aims to use violence to destabilize the country.
Al-Warraq island, where the attacker is from, is on the Nile north of Cairo’s city center. It is relatively poor and near to the famous Imbaba district, which was the scene of many pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations after the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.
The concrete blast barriers where the incident happened encircle the US and nearby British embassies in the leafy district of Garden City.
The area around the embassy has for decades been heavily policed, with concrete barriers blocking traffic.
Egypt has struggled to stem a campaign of bombings and and an insurgency in the Sinai peninsula after the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was removed from power in 2013.
Bomb and shooting attacks have targeted members of the security forces in the capital and militants in Sinai declared their allegiance to Daesh.