1948 Cairo bombings

The 1948 bombings in Cairo, which targeted Jewish areas, took place between June and September 1948 killing 70 Jews and wounding nearly 200. Riots claimed many more lives.[1]

1948 Cairo bombings
Part of 1948 Arab-Israeli War
LocationCairo, Kingdom of Egypt
DateJune–September, 1948
TargetEgyptian Jews
Attack type
Deaths70 Jews killed
Injured200 wounded

In a meeting with the American Jewish Committee in New York in October 1948, the president of Cairo's Sephardi Jewish community, Salvator Cicurel, stated his belief that "the recent anti-Jewish outbreaks…[were] connected with the existence of Israel and the defeats of the Egyptian Army there."[2][3]

The bombingsEdit

The first bomb was planted on June 20, 1948, in Harat Al-Yahud Al-Qara’In, the Karaite quarter of Cairo. 22 Jews were killed and 41 wounded. The bombing took place during the first truce phase of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and the authorities initially blamed the explosion on fireworks stored in Jewish homes and fighting between Karaite and Rabbinic Jews.

Four weeks later on July 15, during the second phase of the war, three B-17s of the 69 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force bombed a residential neighbourhood in Cairo during the Ramadan Iftar, killing many civilians and destroying many homes.[4] A spontaneous demonstration march to the Jewish quarter took place following the attacks. Two days later the Egyptian authorities reported a potential Israeli bombing attack on Cairo, although it was a false alarm.[5] A further two days after, on July 19, bombs exploded in the Jewish-owned Cicurel and Oreco department stores, and on July 28 and August 1 the Adès and Gattegno department stores were bombed.

On September 22, five days after the assassination of United Nations mediator Bernadotte in Jerusalem, 19 Jews were killed and 62 injured in an explosion in the Jewish quarter in Cairo.

On November 12, shortly after the Egyptian defeat in Operation Shmone a bomb destroyed the premises of the Société Orientale de Publicité, a large publishing and advertising firm.


The government's response was muted due to the growing influence and strength of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In November 1948, following several bombings and assassination attempts, the government arrested 32 leaders of the Brotherhood's "secret apparatus" and banned the Brotherhood.[6] At this time, the Brotherhood was estimated to have 2000 branches and 500,000 members or sympathisers.[7] On December 8, 1948, Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha officially dissolved the Society, and the state sequestered its considerable assets. In succeeding months Egypt's prime minister was assassinated by Brotherhood member, and following that Al-Banna himself was assassinated in what is thought to be a cycle of retaliation.

In a 1950 trial, members of the Society were charged with carrying out all the bombings against the Jews of Cairo from June to November 1948. The prosecution argued that the bombings were part of a strategy to exploit the issue of Palestine to destabilise and undermine the regime.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mangoubi, Rami, "A Jewish Refugee Answers Youssef Ibrahim", Middle East Times, October 30, 2004.
  2. ^ "Meeting with Mr. Securel of Cairo, Egypt", October 28, 1948, AJC/FAD-1, Box 12, Foreign Countries, Egypt
  3. ^ Beinin, Joel (1998), The Dispersion Of Egyptian Jewry Culture, Politics, And The Formation Of A Modern Diaspora, University of California Press, c1998. Amer Univ in Cairo Pr, 2005, ISBN 977-424-890-2
  4. ^ Beinin, 1998, "On July 15, Israeli planes bombed a residential neighborhood near the Qubba Palace in Cairo, killing many civilians and destroying many homes. The attack took place during the Ramadan iftar (breakfast meal), which undoubtedly amplified the anger of the victims, who began an angry march on the Jewish quarter."
  5. ^ Beinin, 1998, "On July 17, the Egyptian authorities reported a second Israeli bombing attack. But there was no actual attack."
  6. ^ Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, [1994?], p.140
  7. ^ Wright, Robin, Sacred Rage 1985, p.179