The façade of the Museum of Islamic Art in central Cairo has been completely destroyed by a powerful car bomb that exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate early on Friday morning.
Four people were killed and at least 76 injured in the bomb last, according to health ministry figures.
The blast of the bomb also destroyed the façade of the nearby Egyptian National Library and Archives building.
Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online during his inspection tour of the museum that the blast had destroyed the façade of the building, which had featured rich patterns and elaborate decoration in the Islamic style. The huge decorated columns at the front of the building have also been destroyed.
“The museum building is in a real mess,” said Ibrahim, describing the interior of the museum as “topsy-turvy.” According to Ibrahim, a number of ceilings inside the building collapsed, and some artefacts were damaged.
“Until now I cannot move freely inside the museum to continue my inspection tour due to safety reasons, as the ceilings are still on the verge of collapsing,” he said.
Ministry employees are working hard to secure the museum’s contents and to ensure that any damaged artefacts are removed for restoration.
“Once we evacuate the whole museum, the building is to be subjected to restoration,” said Ibrahim
He described the incident as a “great loss” for Egypt and the world.
The Museum of Islamic Art is home to an exceptional collection of rare woodwork and plaster artefacts, as well as metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textiles objects of all Islamic periods from all over the world.
The museum is a two-storey building; the lower floor contains the exhibition halls displaying 2,500 artefacts in 25 galleries. The second floor and the basement are used for storage.