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CAIRO’S AL-KHALILI BOMBING

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A bomb exploded in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday 02/22/2009 evening, at the tourist area of Khan al-Khalili, in the square in front of Al-Hussein Mosque, killing a 17 years old French tourist girl and wounding 23 others, six of them seriously.

The home mad improvised bomb exploded at the time when the square was packed with tourists from all over the world at the open-air al-Hussein hotel cafe. Many of the injured were from Germany, France and Saudi Arabia as well as local Egyptians. Most of them were injured by flying stone and marble fragments, a police official at the scene said.   

Citing witness reports, sources said at least one device went off after being thrown from a motorcycle. The Egyptian police found near by a second explosive device that was detonated safely causing no harm or damage.  

Egyptian Interior ministry said in a statement that bombs were planted under a seat near a cafe just outside the al-Hussein Hotel. No group has claimed responsibility on the attack.

Tourist attractions in Egypt were always the prime target for Islamic militant in Egypt in order to undermine Egyptian economy. Tourism is one of the main sources of foreign currency for Egypt and is a significant part of Egypt’s economy but tourism is also a very vulnerable industry.

Khan al-Khalili in Cairo was already targeted in the past by similar bombings (see – Cairo-Network). Sunday’s explosion would be of huge concern to Egypt’s security services. Egyptian government has been criticized for its stance over the recent conflict in Gaza (see – Cast-Lead Diary) and has many enemies.

* Three people there were arrested on the site as suspects after the attack.

* The crude bomb which killed a French teenager and injured 24 others was made of gunpowder and detonated by a washing machine timer. An Egyptian crime lab report has confirmed that the same timers were used in a series of bombs which exploded at tourist resorts between 2004 and 2006.

* Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced, on Saturday 05/23/2009, they arrested 7 suspects, members of an Al Qaeda linked group calling itself the Palestinian Islamic Army, who were behind the attack. See – PL Islamic Army.

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