Blast heard in central Cairo — Reuters witness

Egyptian journalist Omar Elhady published photos on his Twitter account, showing what he said was the damage inflicted on the consulate building in the Galaa street.


The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the auto bomb attack at the Italian consulate in Cairo on Saturday, in an escalation of a Sinai-based insurgency that suggests militants are opening a new front against foreigners in Egypt. Neither of the sites was affected by the blast.

The explosion was triggered soon after dawn.

The consulate complex, a light orange building on downtown’s Ramses Street, houses the Italian Club and was once home to an Italian school before World War II. The consulate was considerably less fortified than most foreign consulates and embassies.

Just days after a massacre in Tunisia, the group took responsibility for an attack to the east of the failed state of Libya. IS warned in a statement for Muslims to stay far away from “security dens” like the consulate, calling them “legitimate targets” for strikes. It heavily damaged a section of the building and ruptured water lines, flooding the area.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the attack and promised the two countries would stand together “in the fight against terrorism and fanaticism”.

Some bombs went off near branches of foreign businesses ahead of an worldwide investment conference in March.

Previously, militants mostly targeted Egyptian government officials and security forces. Mosrsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state.

Authorities were looking into several of scenarios in Saturday’s blast, including whether an explosive device might have gone off prematurely or was intended for use elsewhere.

Egypt has witnessed a recent increase in attacks against tourism targets, including a suicide bombing near the ancient Karnak temple in Luxor last month. The blast comes less than two weeks after the nation’s top prosecutor was assassinated in Cairo, raising concerns that militant attacks, which have been largely confined to the restive Northern Sinai province, are gradually spreading to other parts of the country. And militants affiliated to ISIL attacked several military checkpoints in North Sinai, in the fiercest fighting in the region in years.

Italy plans on increasing its security at other sites in the city as a result of the attack.


The president is widely popular in Egypt, where many have demanded a strong leader who can restore stability after more than four years of turmoil following a 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak.

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