CAIRO: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the heart of ancient Islamic Cairo, killing three policemen who were chasing him through its narrow alleyways, medical and security sources said.
Monday evening’s bombing, in the Darb al-Ahmar neighbourhood near the historic Al-Azhar mosque, also wounded two other policemen, the interior ministry said in a statement. “As security forces surrounded the man and were about to stop him and bring him under control, an explosive device in his possession detonated,” the ministry said. Video posted on social media on Tuesday morning showed police catching up with a male cyclist before being enveloped by an explosion.
The ministry said the bomber was being chased as part of a manhunt for those responsible for a foiled bomb attack near a mosque in Cairo’s twin city of Giza on Friday. Police sappers successfully defused that device. Monday evening’s blast damaged several shops in the alleyway which lies in an area frequented by foreign tourists. “My shop’s front and windows were destroyed,” said Kareem Sayed Awad, a barbershop owner. “The problem is not only that but also that people died. This is a tourist area and such incidents affect it,” he said. Egypt’s tourism industry, which had already been hit by the turmoil that followed the Arab Spring revolution of 2011, has been further damaged by a series of deadly attacks against foreign tourists by suspected Islamist militants.