Egypt's Minister Mohammed Ibrahim survives bomb attack

media captionMohammed Ibrahim called the attack a "cowardly assassination bid"

Egypt's Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim has survived a bomb attack that targeted his convoy in Cairo.

Hours later, he appeared on state TV unharmed to denounce the attack as a "cowardly assassination bid".

Security officials said the blast near Mr Ibrahim's home in Nasr City appeared to have been caused by a suicide car bomb. More than 20 people were injured.

No-one has yet said they carried out the attack. The Muslim Brotherhood "strongly condemned" what happened.

Mr Ibrahim heads the police force which has carried out a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protests in recent weeks.

Nasr City is a stronghold of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group.

'Foiled assassination bid'

The explosion took place at about 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT) moments after Mr Ibrahim left his home to be driven by convoy to work.

There were conflicting reports over the source of the explosion, with some reports saying an explosive device had been thrown from a nearby building and others saying a booby-trapped car had detonated.

Mr Ibrahim told state television that his convoy was targeted by a "large" explosive device that might have been detonated by remote control.

"It destroyed four of the vehicles of my protection team, with many shops in the area badly affected, along with a vehicle of civilians and a small child who had a leg amputated," he said.

"I have an officer with serious injuries and another officer with a leg amputation. There were many injuries amongst my guards."

Later, security officials were quoted as saying initial investigations suggested the bomb had been in a car driven by a suicide attacker. The remains of a person thought to be the suicide bomber were found nearby, officials said.

The interior ministry said 10 policemen and 11 civilians had been wounded in the attack.

image captionThe blast occurred at 10:30 local time, just after Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim had left his home in Nasr City for the office.
image captionMr Ibrahim said his convoy was hit, and a number of his guards and civilians - including a child - were injured.
image captionMr Ibrahim heads the police force that has clashed with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in recent weeks.
image captionNasr City is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, but a senior figure in the group strongly condemned Thursday's attack.
image captionMr Ibrahim is the first high-ranking official to be targeted in this way in the two months of violence since the army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Pictures uploaded to the internet by witnesses showed substantial damage to a building next to the blast.

One passer-by said the explosion could be "heard from afar".

"As you can see, cars from the minister's convoy were destroyed and his security people took him to an armoured vehicle that transported him back to his house," he said.

The interior ministry called the perpetrators of the attack "terrorist groups" and said: "We are back to the terrorism of the 1980s."

The Muslim Brotherhood was swift to denounce the attack. Senior leader Amr Darrag said the incident was "regrettable" and one that the Brotherhood "strongly condemns".

Hundreds of arrests

This is the first attack targeting such a high-ranking government official as Egypt remains in turmoil over a showdown between the military-backed government and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The police force, alongside security forces, carried out a deadly security crackdown in the capital last month, clearing two protest camps set up by Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

They had rallied for six weeks demanding the reinstatement of Mr Morsi, who was deposed by the military two months ago following anti-government protests by millions of Egyptians.

Nasr City was the site of the larger of the two protest camps based outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, which was dismantled in the security operation that killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters on 14 August.

The BBC's Bethany Bell says there has been a lot of Muslim Brotherhood activity in the area over the last couple of weeks.

Since the security clampdown, hundreds of Brotherhood supporters have been detained, including the group's most senior leader, Mohammed Badie, and his deputy, Khairat al-Shatir.

Mr Morsi is currently being held in a secret location awaiting trial on charges of inciting murder during anti-government protests that occurred in December 2012.