Egypt continues to investigate foiled Karnak temple attack

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 Jun 2015

Two attackers were killed and another injured, when they targeted the ancient Egyptian tourist site in the south of the country on Wednesday, according to the interior ministry

Karnak Temple
Egyptian security officials stand guard as tourists visit the ruins of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Egypt security forces are continuing their investigation into Wednesday's foiled attack on Luxor's Karnak temple, after finding three identification cards at the site of the incident, state news agency MENA has reported.

The three IDs belong to men from Beni Suef in central Egypt, Gharbiya in the Nile Delta and Minya in Upper Egypt, security officials in Luxor told MENA on Wednesday. The police are "intensifying their efforts" to confirm the identities of the perpetrators, they said.

According to the interior ministry, police on Wednesday prevented three armed men from entering the grounds of the ancient Egyptian Karnak temple, one of the top tourist destinations in the south of the country.

Two people, who the interior ministry believe to have been the attackers, were killed "when a bomb one of them was carrying blew up", while another assailant was injured by gunshot to the head, the ministry has stated.

Four other people were injured, including civilian temple staff and police, a health ministry spokesman told Ahram Online on Thursday.

But no tourists were hurt, he said.

After the attack, experts dismantled three other explosive devices that were found in a bag reportedly belonging to one of the attackers.

Interior Minister Magdi Abd El-Ghaffar arrived in Luxor on Thursday to inspect the site of the botched attack in order take stock of security measures in the area surrounding the temple.

Following the incident on Wednesday, Egypt's tourism and antiquities ministers also travelled to the southern Egyptian city to inspect the site, and to visit the control room for security cameras monitoring the area.

German tour operator TUI Deutschland has canceled its scheduled trips to Luxor.  

Meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Interior Minister Magdi Abd El-Ghaffar on Wednesday evening, President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi called for increased security "at all of Egypt's vital sites, including tourist sites, to prevent further terrorist attacks".

El-Sisi also said that terrorist attacks "will not affect the Egyptian people's resolve".

Meanwhile, Wednesday's incident in Luxor has drawn international condemnation.

"We must stand united in our common fight against terrorism," the European Union said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The EU will keep supporting Egypt's efforts to tackle violent extremism and prevent new attacks. We extend our sympathies to those wounded."

On Twitter, British Ambassador to Cairo John Casson said that his country "stands with Egypt against this terrorist violence and the poisonous ideology that feeds it".

The attack in Luxor took place as Egypt hosts an African economic summit in the Red Sea resort town in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Karnak is one of Egypt's most famous ancient Egyptian archeological sites. Located on Luxor's east Nile bank, the large complex includes temples, chapels and shrines.

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