Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Egyptian security forces foil attack on Karnak temple
Statues inside the tempel of Karnak.
Egyptian security forces have foiled an attack on the Karnak Temple, an important tourist site in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, killing two militants and injuring a third, the interior ministry has announced. Police prevented the three from entering the Karnak temple on Wednesday morning.Two of the militants were killed and another injured when a bomb one of them was carrying blew up. One of the temple staff was injured, but there were no casualties among temple visitors or security forces.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which carries the hallmark of Islamist militants based in the border Sinai region who have escalated deadly attacks since the 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The violence had previously spared tourist sites, mostly targeting security checkpoints and government infrastructure with bombings and shootings.
Wednesday's attack is the first in the ancient city since November 1997 when Islamist militants shot their way into the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor's Valley of the Queens, killing 62 people. Luxor is home to some of the world's greatest ancient temples and pharaonic tombs. Last week, gunmen shot dead two members of Egypt's tourism and antiquities police forces on a road near the Giza pyramids.
In February 2014, a bombing of a tourist bus in the Sinai which killed two South Koreans and an Egyptian driver was reminiscent of an Islamist insurrection in the 1990s that often targeted tourists and took authorities years to put down.