Car bomb hits Italian consulate in Egypt; one dead

Cairo, July  11

A car bomb ripped through Italy’s consulate in Cairo today, killing one person, the first attack on a foreign mission in Egypt since jihadists launched a campaign against security forces two years ago.

The early morning explosion was heard across the capital and tore down the facade of the consular building, which forms part of a large complex that also houses a social club and a school.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the consulate located near the prosecutor’s office and supreme court in central Cairo.

It comes less than two weeks after suspected militants assassinated the country’s top prosecutor in a Cairo car bombing, in an attack that has also gone unclaimed. Health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said the blast killed a civilian and wounded nine people, including policemen and passers-by.

A wooden police booth outside the consulate was completely destroyed, and about 50 surrounding buildings were damaged.

The Italian consul in Cairo arrived at the scene of the attack and went inside the building to inspect it.

Rome swiftly condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni saying “Italy will not let itself be intimidated.”

He added on Twitter that there were no Italian casualties, and later told reporters there was no doubt the consulate was the target of the attack.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri denounced the attack in a telephone call with Gentiloni and pledged Cairo would “pursue and intensify its efforts... to fight against terrorism”.