Cairo policeman dies, death toll in suicide blast now at three

CAIRO (AP) — The death toll from a late-night suicide blast near Cairo’s famed tourist market rose to three yesterday after a police officer died of his wounds, Egyptian security officials said.

All three fatalities in the attack late on Monday near Khan el-Khalili bazaar in the heart of Cairo were policemen. The explosion also wounded two other policemen and a woman, the officials said.

The attack was a rarity for the central area of Egypt’s capital following progress from a security crackdown under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The Interior Ministry said the attacker, identified as 37-year-old al-Hassan Abdullah, blew up his explosives after police officers approached him with the intention to arrest him.

The man was wanted in a bombing last Friday near a mosque in Cairo’s district of Giza and the police had been monitoring his movements, the statement said.

Policemen and residents surround the site of an explosion in the Gamaliya district, near Cairo’s famed Khan el-Khalili tourist marketplace in Cairo, Egypt. – AP

The attacker’s affiliation was not known and no militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The ministry had blamed members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood for last week’s attack, which it said targetted a security checkpoint and wounded three people.

Following Monday’s explosion, which shattered windows and blew curtains off nearby balconies, Egyptian police and soldiers cordoned off the narrow streets around the bazaar. A body, covered with a white sheet stained with blood, was seen lying on the ground in the blocked-off area, close to Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar mosque.

In a house nearby, police found a bomb and bomb-making material, which prompted the evacuation of the whole building, said the security officials.

Egypt has been facing an insurgency led by the Islamic State (IS) group that is largely limited to northern Sinai Peninsula but which occasionally spills out to the mainland.