Continued from page 1

While the claim posted on a militant website could not be absolutely verified, it corresponded with previous messages issued by the group on the same forum. It identified the suicide bomber in Tuesday’s attack by the nickname Abu Mariam.

The explosion in Mansoura, 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Cairo, was the deadliest bombing yet in a months-long wave of violence blamed on Islamic militants.

The blast was so powerful it collapsed an entire section and side wall of the five-floor building, incinerating dozens of cars outside and damaging several nearby buildings.

A security official said it appears the Mansoura bomber drove a pickup truck laden with explosives close to the police headquarters, then detonated it. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation with journalists, said that Cairo airport authorities arrested a Brotherhood member late Tuesday on suspicion that he was linked to the attack.

The suspect — identified as 22-year-old Adel Younis Rashid who runs a computer shop in Mansoura — was taken into custody as he was trying to fly to Turkey with his mother and a friend, the official said.

The suspect is the son of a leading Brotherhood member and former lawmaker from Mansoura, the official said, adding that authorities have confiscated Rashid’s computers and telephones.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has emerged as the main Sinai-based militant group staging attacks against Egyptian security forces. The group has claimed most major attacks in the Sinai and Suez Canal-area cities in recent months, as well as a failed attempt to assassinate the country’s interior minister in September.

On Monday, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis issued a message threatening more attacks against Egyptian troops, saying it considers them to be infidels because they answer to the secular-leaning government.

___

Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.