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Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Eyewitness: Cairo blast

Ahmed Elshami was having a night out in Khan al-Khalili area of Cairo on Sunday when a bomb exploded killing one and injuring 20 others. He describes how close he was to death.


Egyptian police at the site of the blast in Cairo
Police have now sealed off the area in the heart of Cairo
I decided to take my fiancee out to have dinner in one of Khan al-Khalili's restaurants. We walked past the mosque gate and we stood next to the bench where a bomb would explode 20 minutes later.

I couldn't believe it when I later looked at photos online showing that same spot, only with blood on.

My fiancee wanted to go to a nearby restaurant. Luckily I had something else on my mind and I persuaded her to go to another one, which is about 50m further away.

As we sat down and started looking at the menu, we heard a very loud bang. The whole place shook for about 10 seconds - the tables, windows and the big ceiling lamp. Then we heard screaming. Everyone ran out in panic.

Policemen directed people to walk away. They said that another bomb had just been found.

I tried to be calm so that my fiancee wouldn't freak out. Reaching the car was a challenge as there were people, ambulances and police vehicles blocking the way.

It felt like we were in a war zone. Anyone of the people running around could have been carrying a bomb. I've never felt so scared in my life.

Having lived in Cairo for a couple of decades, this is not the first time I've been close to a bomb explosion. I wasn't far away from a bomb blast four years ago.

And although it is a scary thing to happen to you, I am determined not to stay away from markets and busy places and I will definitely go back to Khan al-Khalili, though probably not in the next few days.



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