CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — A bomb was thrown from a Cairo bridge to the street below not far from a 5-star hotel and the Egyptian Museum, killing an Arab man and injuring seven people, including four foreigners, authorities said.
Remains of a body, covered with newspapers, were seen beneath the bridge a few minutes after the 3:15 p.m. (1215 GMT) explosion was heard through downtown Cairo.
The blast happened on a road adjacent to a public bus station behind the Egyptian Museum.
Police said four foreigners were injured.
Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two Israelis — a man and a woman — an Italian woman and a Russian man were injured.
The Egyptian health minister, Mohammed Awad Tag Eddin, however, told Nile News television that three Egyptians were injured and two Israelis, one Swiss and one Italian.
The discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.
The hands and face of one of the injured — a man with reddish-blond hair who was lifted on to a stretcher — were covered with blood. Sitting upright, he held his hands to his face as paramedics loaded the stretcher into an ambulance.
On a nearby curb, two Westerners checked their wounds; the young woman’s left arm was bloodied and the man sitting next to her appeared to have sustained leg injuries. The extent of the other woman’s injuries were not immediately clear.
Though the bus station is used almost exclusively by Egyptians, the area is between the Ramses Hilton hotel frequented by foreigners and the Egyptian Museum, one of the country’s main tourist sites. Normally, the station is teeming with people heading home from work in the mid-afternoon, but the blast happened on a holiday weekend.
Initially, police said they believed a car had exploded, but no vehicle debris could be seen in the area. A senior policeman on the scene, who would not give his name, said a bomb was thrown from the bridge above to the street below. Some witnesses at the scene gave similar accounts.
“I saw very loud explosion after what looked like a man throwing a bomb down from the bridge,” said Mohammed Hasan Mohammed, 45.
Two rings of tape cordoned off the area where the body lay. Investigators uncovered the body and knelt to inspect it.
Scores of heavily-armed police, including riot officers in helmets and carrying submachine guns, kept away the crowds who gathered to watch, standing on benches and potted plants to get a view.
In a sign of the tension and uncertainty, police singled out a few youths to inspect the bags they were carrying.
The blast, about 100 meters (yards) from the back of the Egyptian Museum, not far from a 5-star hotel, is the second apparent bomb attack in the vicinity of major Cairo tourist attractions in less than a month.
During the 1990s, Islamic insurgents mounted several attacks on tourists in a bid to cripple tourism and bring down the government. The government has been anxious to limit the damage of recent attacks to Egypt’s tourism industry, and has said the market blast was the act of only a few.
On April 7, a suicide bomber killed two French citizens, an American and himself when he detonated a homemade bomb near the Khan al-Khalili market on April 7.
In October 2004, militants detonated bombs in the Sinai resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan, killing 34 people and wounding more than 100. One bomb destroyed a wing of the Taba Hilton Hotel.
Police said the mastermind was a Palestinian resident of Egypt who was angry with Israel. More than 10 Israeli tourists were among the dead.