Cairo blast hits Italian consulate in city centre: state news

Attack comes during the last week of the holy month of Ramazan

Reuters July 11, 2015
Representational image. PHOTO: AFP

EGYPT: A huge explosion occurred in front of the Italian consulate in central Cairo on Saturday, wounding two policemen, state news agency MENA said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear but one
security official said it was a car bomb. There was no immediate
claim of responsibility.

MENA cited a senior security source as saying preliminary
investigations indicated that attackers had placed a bomb
underneath a car near the consulate and remotely detonated it.

Read: Islamic State bans Eid prayers in Iraq

MENA earlier cited a security source as saying two policemen
were wounded in the attack. Militants have carried out roadside bombs and suicide bombing attacks which have so far targeted members of the security forces and officials.

The violence, and political turmoil triggered by the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, have hurt Egypt's
tourism industry, a pillar of the economy. Media reports said an Egyptian was wounded by the blast.

The blast occurred early in the morning on a weekend during the
Muslim holy fasting month of Ramazan - a time of day when there
is little congestion.

The MENA report cited witnesses as saying the explosion had
caused massive destruction to the building. The force of the blast shook a building in downtown Cairo and could be heard in
many neighbourhoods.

A Western diplomat said he was aware of the explosion in front of the consulate but could not confirm that the building was the target. A Sinai-based insurgency has escalated since the army ousted President Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule in 2013.

Read: 44 killed in bomb blasts in Nigeria's Jos: relief agency


Two weeks ago, a car bomb killed the country's top public prosecutor and militants affiliated to Islamic State attacked several military checkpoints in North Sinai, in what was the fiercest fighting in the region in years.

The army said 17 soldiers and more than 100 militants were killed in those clashes.


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