Middle East

Suicide attack outside Karnak temple in Egypt's Luxor

Debris is seen near shops damaged during a foiled suicide attack in Luxor, Egypt, June 10, 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police said a suicide bomb was detonated in the car park near the Temple of Karnak

Police in Egypt say they have foiled an attempted suicide bomb attack at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, one of the country's most popular tourist sites.

Three men reportedly approached a barrier at the entrance to the temple complex on Wednesday morning.

When confronted by police, one of the attackers detonated an explosive belt he was wearing. A second was shot dead and a third severely wounded.

Two civilians and two policemen were injured but no tourists were hurt.

Media captionThe attack took place in an area popular with foreign tourists, as BBC Arabic's Mohammed Yehia explains

The number of foreign tourists visiting Egypt has been increasing over the past 18 months, after slumps following the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the overthrow by the military of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.


Karnak

Image copyright AFP
  • Located on the east bank of the River Nile on the site of the ancient city of Thebes
  • Known to ancient Egyptians as Ipet-Sut ("the most select of places")
  • Covers more than 100 hectares (247 acres) and is one of the largest religious complexes in the world
  • Consists of the temples of the original local god Montu, and those of Amun, Mut and Khonsu, the Theban triad
  • Temple at Karnak may go back to the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC), but the earliest visible remains are of the Twelfth Dynasty (1938-1756 BC)
  • Complex contains a 30m (97ft) tall obelisk that weighs 323 tonnes
  • Second most visited tourist attraction in Egypt after the pyramids at Giza

Source: British Museum


There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but jihadist militants have killed hundreds of security force and government personnel since Mr Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted.

After Wednesday's incident, Egypt's antiquities minister issued orders to increase security at tourist sites across the country, the official Mena news agency reported.

Last week, two members of Egypt's tourism and antiquities police force were shot dead on a road near the pyramids at Giza.

In 1997, jihadist militants killed more than 60 people after attacking a group of foreign tourists visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut, across the River Nile from the city of Luxor near the Valley of the Kings.

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