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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 03:14 GMT 04:14 UK
Two killed in Cairo bazaar blast
Cairo blast scene
The area of the blast is crammed with bazaars and shoppers
At least two people, including a French tourist, have been killed in a bomb attack in the historic heart of Cairo.

French, American and Italian tourists were among 19 people wounded when the bomb was thrown into a crowded market.

Early reports said the second victim was an American, although police later said it may have been the attacker.

The attack - in the old Islamic centre of Cairo, popular with tourists - is the first in the city for seven years. There is no indication of the motive.

The attack happened at about 1700 (1500 GMT) on Thursday, close to al-Azhar mosque, which is a major seat of Islamic learning.

Cairo's police chief denied earlier reports that the attacker had thrown the bomb from a motorbike, instead saying it had been tossed by a male pedestrian.

The blast went off on al-Moski Street, a narrow street of tourist shops and clothes sellers - often crammed with foreigners and Egyptian shoppers, carts and peddlers - near the main bazaar of Khan al-Khalili.

Rabab Rifaat, a woman shopping nearby, told the Associated Press news agency she heard a loud "boom", and saw a severed head flying through the air.

Warning to Americans

The French woman died from her injuries in hospital, while an unrecognisable body was also recovered from the scene.

A Health Ministry official initially said the other person killed was an American bystander, although the interior and health ministries later backed off from that report.

The US embassy in Cairo has issued a statement warning Americans to stay away from the area of the attack.

The attack comes at a time when tourism is bringing in record revenues, says the BBC's Heba Saleh in Cairo.

Many Egyptians will now be worried about its impact on the industry, she adds.

Islamic militants in Egypt have staged attacks on tourist attractions in the past.

In the most recent attack in October, 34 people died when militants bombed several hotels in the Sinai peninsula.

In 1997 the country's lucrative tourism industry was thrown into crisis when gunmen opened fire on foreigners in central Cairo and at a site near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor.

A total of 68 people died in the two attacks.

See the site of the explosion

'No al-Qaeda hand' in Egypt bombs
01 Nov 04 |  Middle East
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11 Oct 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
15 Jan 05 |  Country profiles


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