The explosion, in the Boulaq Abu El-Ela district, was reportedly caused by an improvised explosive device placed beneath a tree outside Gate 3 of the ministry, which is located near the Maspero state television building. Boulaq Abu El-Ela is a working-class district located between two of Cairo's main downtown squares – Tahrir and Ramsis.
Explosions have repeatedly targeted police sites and personnel over the past year, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. In June, ahead of the 30 June protests anniversary, three explosions struck near the Ittihadiya presidential palace in the Heliopolis area of Cairo, killing two policemen. Four explosions struck in Greater Cairo – most notably at the Cairo Security Directorate – killing six people, on the eve of the 2011 uprising anniversary.