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One killed, 10 injured in car bomb blast at Italian Consulate in Cairo

Ahram Online , Saturday 11 Jul 2015
The Italian consulate in Cairo
Egyptian police officers stand on the 6th October bridge opposite the Italian consulate following a blast in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 11, 2015 (AP)
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A powerful blast left at least one dead in front of the Italian Consulate in downtown Cairo Saturday, the second car bomb attack in the Egyptian capital in less than a fortnight.

The explosion badly damaged the consulate, known to be closed Fridays and Saturdays, when it took place at around 6:25am CMT. The area is usually busier during working days so the timing of the explosion may have limited the number of casualties.

In an announcement on Twitter, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast.

The consulate's entrance on Galaa Street, as well as its facade, were destroyed. A water pipe on Galaa and 26 July Street was also damaged, causing leaks.

Neighbouring buildings also suffered some damage, according to residents. Windows of buildings located a few hundred metres away from the explosion were shattered, including some windows of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square and the Press Syndicate in Abdel-Khaleq Tharwat Street.  

Preliminary investigations show that the explosive-laden vehicle was parked outside the Italian Consulate before it exploded. According to health ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, one person was killed and ten people were injured.

6 October Bridge, which rises above Galaa Street where the consulate is located, was briefly sealed off in both directions. Galaa Street was also closed to traffic.

The consulate complex includes a cultural centre as well a social club. 

Not intimidated

Italy will not be "let itself be intimidated" by the bombing, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in the wake of the attack.

"Bombing against our consulate in Cairo, there are no Italian victims," Gentiloni tweeted shortly after the blast.

"Our thoughts are with the people affected and with our personnel."

On 29 June the prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat, was assassinated when a car bomb exploded next to his convoy as it was travelling through Cairo's Heliopolis district.

Earlier the same month, a bomb was planted under a car in front of the Saudi Consulate in Cairo's Garden City where many embassies are located. No casualties were reported.

Egypt has recently seen a spike in bombings in civilian areas after attacks almost exclusively targeted at security forces which were mostly claimed by militant Islamist groups.

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