Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Luxor terrorist attack fails

Police stopped a suicide bomb attack at Karnak Temple in Luxor, reports Ahmed Morsy

 

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Security forces thwarted an attempted suicide bomb attack on Wednesday morning at the Karnak Temple in the city of Luxor, killing two militants and injuring a third, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The attackers were trying to break through a security cordon at the entrance of the temple when they were prevented by security forces deployed to safeguard the complex, the statement said. Following a confrontation, one of the attackers detonated an explosive device he had in his possession in the temple’s car park. He was killed in the blast outside the temple.

Another assailant was shot dead by security forces while the third was injured during an exchange of fire.

Karnak Temple, located on the east bank of the River Nile on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, is considered the most visited tourist attraction in Egypt after the Giza Pyramids.

The Interior Ministry and the Antiquities Ministry said the attack caused no casualties among visitors or security forces. Eyewitnesses said two workers, one in the parking lot and another in a tourist bazaar, were injured in the blast.

Though no group claimed responsibility for the attack, security experts believe that those behind the raid might belong to Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, a terrorist organisation.

Terrorist attacks in Egypt have claimed the lives of more than 500 security personnel since July 2013 when Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted. Though Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis — now known as State of Sinai — is at the forefront of militant groups launching attacks against security targets since Morsi’s ouster, other smaller militant groups emerge from time to time claiming responsibility for minor attacks.

Following the attack, Egypt's antiquities minister issued orders to boost security measures at antiquity sites countrywide in coordination with the Interior Ministry, according to the state news agency MENA.

The minister, MENA said, was due to head to the site of the assault and take the necessary measures “needed to guarantee full protection of the archaeological site and its visitors”.

In its response to the attack, the Tourism Ministry said the Ministry of Tourism and the government “place the highest priority on the safety of tourists in our country”.

The statement added that security forces deployed at all tourist sites have increased. "We continue to take all possible measures to ensure that no harm comes to anyone visiting Egypt".

Wednesday’s terrorist attack was the first of its kind in Luxor in 18 years. In November 1997 Islamist militants armed with automatic weapons killed 62 tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor's Valley of the Queens.

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