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Thursday April 7, 11:57 PM
Bomb in Cairo tourist bazaar kills two
CAIRO (Reuters) – A probable suicide bomb attack in a Cairo bazaar popular with tourists has killed a French woman and the bomber, Egypt’s cabinet spokesman said.
Magdi Radi said 16 others were wounded in Thursday’s attack, which early investigations showed was probably carried out by an Egyptian man whose remains had yet to be identified.
“It resulted from the explosion of a charge prepared in a basic way containing gunpowder and nails,” Radi said. “It is probable that the one who has yet to be identified was the source of the explosion,” he said.
The bomb went off in the el-Hussein area of medieval Cairo at about 5:45 p.m.. Police sealed off the road which was covered with shattered glass and shops were closed.
“There was a big explosion and everybody started running away,” witness Rabab Rifaat said.
Radi said the wounded were nine Egyptians, four Americans and three French. Investigations were ongoing.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement warning U.S. citizens to stay away from the area of the attack.
It said there was no independent information to suggest it was part of a wider campaign, but cautioned Americans to “avoid areas of Cairo where large numbers of tourists congregate”.
There was no immediate indication of the motive for the attack, the latest in a series against tourists in Egypt, a close ally of the United States.
A political analyst said a recent string of attacks in Egypt appeared to be against foreigners rather than the tourism industry, which Islamist militant targeted in Egypt in the 1990s.
“What happened today was against foreigners and not against tourism. It’s very close to what happened in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait and in Qatar,” said Dia Rashwan, referring to attacks in recent months attributed to Islamist militants in Arab Gulf states.
“The central event is the Iraqi occupation … the side effects are what happened now in Cairo,” he said.
Million of tourists who visit Egypt every year to see Pharaonic sites and holiday at Red Sea resorts provide the country with a main source of hard currency. Officials often point out that Egypt is safer than many of its neighbours.
An Egyptian man stabbed and wounded two Hungarian tourists in central Cairo last month in what police said was revenge for Western policies towards Iraqis and Palestinians.
Bombings in and around the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Taba killed 34 people last October.
An attack in 1997 at a Pharaonic temple near the southern town of Luxor killed 58 tourists and badly hit the industry for a long time. Tourists returned slowly and last year witnessed a record number of visitors to the country.
Senior Health Ministry official Ahmed Adel had said earlier the explosion had killed four, including the French woman and a U.S. citizen, and wounded 18 others.