CAIRO (AP) — Three bombings hit high-profile areas around Cairo on Friday, including a suicide car bomber who struck the city's police headquarters, killing five people in the first major attack on the Egyptian capital as insurgents step up a campaign of violence following the ouster of the Islamist president.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of Islamic extremists who have increasingly targeted police and the military since the July 3 coup against Mohammed Morsi and a fierce crackdown on his supporters led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The explosions struck as the country was on high alert ahead of the third anniversary of the Jan. 25 start of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Morsi's supporters had vowed to use the event to gain momentum in their efforts turn to a new momentum to "break the coup."
Friday's violence began when a suicide bomber rammed a car into cement blocks surrounding the main Egyptian police headquarters in the heart of Cairo, killing at least four people and sending billows of black smoke into the sky. The blast also tore through nearby buildings, including the renowned Museum of Islamic Art.
Egypt's antiquities minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the explosion badly damaged the facade of the 19th century museum and artifacts inside, including a rare collection of Islamic art objects dating back to 1881. He said the museum, which was recently renovated in a multimillion dollar project, will have to be "rebuilt."
As a large number of ambulances rushed to the scene, an Associated Press photographer saw about six police officers weeping as they on the sidewalk outside the building. Small parts of a vehicle were scattered on the road and a blanket covered a corpse — which officers said was the suicide bomber.
Several floors of the high-rise security building were wrecked, air conditioning units dangled from broken windows, and the pavement outside was covered with piles of shattered glass, pieces of bricks and rocks. The facade of the adjacent Islamic Art Museum and a court house were also damaged along with shops and cars in the area.
Egypt's Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim described the attack "vile terrorist act" and vowed, "it will not discourage the police from continuing their fierce war against the black terrorism."
The Interior Ministry cordoned off the building, which is located in a busy district, as rescue teams worked to extract victims trapped in the rubble. Security forces went on high alert, and closed the central Tahrir Square and main roads, including the one leading to the Interior Ministry.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that four people were killed and nearly 50 wounded.
About two hours later, another bomb struck a police car on patrol near a metro station near the Russian Culture Center elsewhere in Cairo, killing one person and wounding eight others, officials said.
A third, smaller blast targeted the Talbiya police station about four kilometers (two miles) from the famous Giza Pyramids but caused no casualties, officials said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The attacks came a day after the country's military and security leaders marked Police Day depicting security forces as national heroes battling terrorism.
The military-backed government has blamed the Brotherhood for past attacks and designated it as a terrorist organization. The group has denied the accusations as baseless.
The most prominent attacks were a failed assassination attempt on the interior minister in Cairo in September and the December suicide car bombing that targeted a security headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, leaving nearly 16 dead, most of them policemen.
An al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks, saying they aimed to avenge the killings of Morsi's supporters in the months-long heavy security crackdown on protesters demanding his reinstatement and denouncing the coup.
A Brotherhood-led coalition had planned protests after Friday prayers across the country as part of their near-daily demonstrations against Morsi's overthrow and the recent vote on the country's rewritten constitution.
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner says he likes his life too much to run for president.
Making his first appearance Thursday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Boehner was asked by the host whether he'd ever consider seeking the nation's highest office.
"No," Boehner said immediately. "No?" Leno said. "No," Boehner repeated.
"Listen, I like to play golf," Boehner said by way of explanation. "I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be the President of the United States."
The line got a round of applause from the Burbank, Calif. audience.
Boehner also got a laugh when he was asked if GOP infighting in Washington is the worst that he's seen.
"Oh, no, it's, well, maybe it is," Boehner said. "Probably. Yeah, probably."
But he went on to downplay the conflict.
"The funny thing about the so called infighting is that we agree on all the goals," the speaker said. "We think Obamacare is bad for the country. We think we shouldn't spend more than what we bring in. We think the President is ignoring the law. It's all a fight over tactics. It's not over what our goals are."
NEW YORK (AP) - More than 30 years after hooded gunmen pulled a $6 million airport heist dramatized in the hit Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas," an elderly reputed mobster was arrested at his New York City home on Thursday and charged in the robbery and a 1969 murder.
Vincent Asaro, 78, was named along with his son, Jerome, and three other defendants in wide-ranging indictment alleging murder, robbery, extortion, arson and other crimes from the late 1960s through last year. The Asaros, both identified as captains in the Bonanno organized crime family, pleaded not guilty through their attorneys and were ordered held without bail at a brief appearance in federal court in Brooklyn.
The elder Asaro's attorney, Gerald McMahon, told reporters outside court that his client was framed by shady turncoat gangsters, including former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino - the highest-ranking member of the city's five organized crime families to break the mob's vow of silence.
Massino "is one of the worst witnesses I've ever seen," McMahon said. He added that Asaro had given him "marching orders" that "there will be no plea and he will walk out the door a free man."
A lawyer for Jerome Asaro declined comment.
The indictment accused Vincent Asaro of helping to direct the Dec. 11, 1978, Lufthansa Airlines heist at Kennedy airport - one of the largest cash thefts in American history.
The gunmen looted a vault in the airline's cargo terminal and stole about $5 million in untraceable U.S. currency that was being returned to the United States from Germany, along with about $1 million in jewelry. The cash was never found.
According to court papers, an unidentified mob associate who pleaded guilty and became a cooperating witness told investigators that he participated in the robbery at the direction of Asaro. The theft was hatched by James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, a late Lucchese crime family associate who was close to Asaro, who told the bandits that he had a "score" that would make them rich, the papers say.
Each robber was supposed to be paid $750,000, but the cooperating witness said "most did not receive their share, either because they were killed first or it was never given to them," according to the court papers.
The papers say the cooperator wore a wire and recorded a conversation he had with Asaro in 2011 in which the pair discussed being slighted.
"We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get," Asaro said, according to the court papers. "Jimmy Burke kept everything."
In addition to the heist, the elder Asaro was charged in the 1969 murder of Paul Katz, whose remains were found last year during an FBI dig at a house once occupied by Burke. According to the cooperating witness, Asaro and Burke were business partners in Robert's Lounge, the papers say. The saloon was described by a fellow Lucchese associate of Burke, the late Henry Hill, as Burke's private cemetery.
"Jimmy buried over a dozen bodies ... under the bocce courts," Hill wrote in his book, "A Goodfella's Guide to New York."
Katz once owned a warehouse where mobsters stored stolen goods, according to the court papers. After a raid at the warehouse, Asaro and Burke began to suspect Katz was a law enforcement informant.
Asaro told the cooperator that Burke "had killed Katz with a dog chain because they believed he was a `rat,"' the papers say.
The cooperator told investigators that Asaro and Burke brought Katz's body to a vacant home in Queens where it was concealed beneath a cement floor. In the 1980s, Burke ordered the cooperator to dig up the remains and move them to another location.
Burke inspired Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas," which was based on Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy" and told the story of Hill's time in the mob and subsequent cooperation with law enforcement.
Massino was convicted in 2004 on charges he had a hand in multiple gangland murders, including the execution of a mobster who vouched for FBI undercover agent Donnie Brasco - a story that was also turned into a movie.
In July, Massino saw his life prison sentence reduced to time served after prosecutors praised his work as a government cooperator.