"The massacre was extremely bloody," she says. "The attackers not only shot their victims, but knifed many of them too. It took a long time for police reinforcements to arrive at the scene, which made for the very high death toll."
President Hosni Mubarak has asked his Interior Minister to resign, despite the latter’s good record in the fight against Islamic extremists. But the massacre highlights an intractable problem for the authorities. “The government have made it very clear that they will not negotiate with the militants,” says Radwan. “They’ve been using harsh measures up to now, but it hasn’t stopped such attacks — which are easy for even only a handful of people to carry out.” Radwan believes the most important factor undermining popular support for the militants has been Egypt’s tourism-driven economic recovery. Which is why the optimism of many Egyptians died along with the victims of Monday’s massacre.