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Photo: AP
Cairo blast scene
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Explosion shakes downtown Cairo
Photo: AP
Photo: Elad Gershgoren
Avital and Bentzi Smorzik
Photo: Elad Gershgoren

Israelis hurt in Cairo blast

Israeli couple lightly injured after blast shakes downtown Cairo Saturday afternoon. Shortly after the explosion, local police foil attack on tourist bus

CAIRO - Terror offensive in Cairo: 10 people, including two Israelis, were wounded in two terror attacks in central Cairo Saturday.

 

The injured Israelis, Avital and Bentzi Smorzik from Haifa, sustained light wounds. Egypt's health minister said all those injured in the two attacks sustained light wounds, with the exception of a Swedish tourist who was moderately wounded.

 

In the first attack, a 47-year-old suicide bomber detonated himself near the Egyptian Museum, wounding seven people, including the Israeli couple. Shortly after the blast, two female terrorists, including the suicide bomber's sister, fired at a tourist bus in the Egyptian capital, wounding three people.

 

Egyptian officials said the two women decided to commit suicide at one point. One of them shot her friend to death and then turned the gun on herself, but survived her injuries, the officials said. However, according to other accounts the two women were killed by security forces.

 

Islamic group claims responsibility for attacks

 

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the attacks on an Islamic website, but the announcement's credibility is unclear.

 

The attacks came to avenge the death of terrorists who carried previous attacks in Sinai and the detention of thousands of terror suspects, the statement said.

 

Egypt's embassy in Israel expressed its regret over the attacks and the wounds sustained by the two Israelis.

 

Unfortunately, the Israeli people are familiar with terror attacks and understanding there are frustrated individuals in every nation, a statement by the embassy read.

 

Sources in Cairo reported that the suicide bomber, Ihab Yuseri, was wanted by authorities for his alleged involved in a previous attack in Cario.

 

According to early reports, the bomber hurled a bomb from a bridge, but authorities later said the terrorist detonated an explosive device laden with nails.

 

A roots trip

 

Avital and Bentzi Smorzik were inside the Cairo's national Museum at the time of the blast.

 

"We had finished our tour and were on our way to the Hilton Hotel," she told the Channel 10 television station. "We were on a 'roots' trip, it's a pity it had to end this way."

 

The couple's son, Elad, told Ynet his father was lightly injured from shrapnel and his mother was treated for shock.

 

He said his father managed to call home following the blast, with help from the Israeli consul in Cairo.

 

"They flew to Egypt on Thursday for a roots trip," he said. "My mother was born in Egypt and for a long time had dreamed of visiting places from her childhood."

 

Government updated Egypt travel warning in March  

 

Seven people sustained injuries in the first attack, including three locals and four foreign nationals, Egypt's Health Minister Mohammed Awad Tag Eddin said following the blast. 

 

Officials in Egypt are concerned the latest attacks could drive tourists away from the country over terrorism fears. Notably, foreign tourism is one of Egypt's major sources of income.

 

On March 1 this year, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued an updated warning advising Israelis to refrain from visiting Egypt in light of high terror risks.

 

"Although those are only recommendations, each traveler should thoroughly examine the meaning of the risks and refrain from taking in unnecessary risks," the warning read.

 

A senior policeman on the scene, who would not give his name, said a bomb was thrown from the bridge above to the street below. Some witnesses at the scene gave similar accounts.


Bombing aftermath

 

Suicide bomber struck in Cairo recently

 

The first explosion occured on a road adjacent to a public bus station down the street from the Museum.

 

Scores of heavily armed police, including riot officers in helmets and carrying submachine guns, kept away the crowds who gathered to watch, standing on benches and potted plants to get a view. In a sign of the tension and uncertainty, police singled out a few youth to inspect the bags they were carrying.

 

Witnesses later reported seeing the remains of a body, covered with newspapers, beneath a bridge.

 

At one point, Police said they believed a car had exploded, but no vehicle debris could be seen in the area.

 

Earlier this month, a man killed himself and three tourists when the bomb he was carrying exploded among a group of tourists in a Cairo bazaar.

 

-AP and Reuters contributed to this report

 


פרסום ראשון: 04.30.05, 15:56
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