Motives Behind Cairo Attack

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CAIRO: Today’s deadly attack on tourists by suspected Islamic militants in Cairo was a direct response to the death sentences imposed on four of their comrades earlier this week, says TIME’s Cairo reporter Amany Radwan. "Their motivation is to tell the government: 'You think you have the upper hand, you have us in jail and impose death sentences, but we are still here and we’re still able to inflict damage.'"

Nine people died in the firebomb attack on tourist buses outside the Egyptian Museum — the largest attack in Cairo in two years. Says Radwan: "Although there has been some fighting in the south of the country, Cairo has been very quiet, and this came as a surprise — at a time when tourism is booming."

Radwan believes that, despite Thursday’s attack, the government has been largely successful in containing the militants. "There are always a few people willing to carry out such actions," she said. "Although some people argue that there should be a dialogue with the militants, I don’t see this government ever taking that course."