Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Suicide bomber targets ancient Egyptian temple in Luxor

10 June 2015, 20:28

Luxor - A suicide bomber blew himself up on Wednesday just steps away from the ancient Egyptian temple of Karnak in Luxor, a southern city visited by millions of tourists every year, security and health officials said. No tourists were killed or hurt in the late morning attack.

The attack, the second this month at or near a major tourist attraction in Egypt, marks an escalation and a shift in tactics in a campaign of violence waged by Islamic militants against the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with the extremists shifting from their focus on hitting security forces to targeting Egypt's vital tourism industry.

Also read: Israel isn't on UN list of parties that kill or injure kids

Sustained attacks threaten to wreck the industry once more, just as it was beginning to recover from Egypt's turmoil since 2011. On June 3, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside the famed Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, killing two police officers.

Shortly after Wednesday's explosion, police exchanged fire with and killed two suspected Islamic militants who had arrived at the sprawling, Nile-side temple together with the suicide bomber, the security officials said. Four people, including two policemen, were wounded in the exchange, according to the Health Ministry in Cairo.

The governor of Luxor, Mohammed Sayed Badr, said no tourists were hurt in the bombing outside the famed Luxor site. Speaking to The Associated Press over the phone, he said the attack was "an attempt to break into the temple of Karnak."

"They didn't make it in," he added of the attackers.

Badr also offered a slightly different version of how the attack unfolded. He said three men carrying bags got out of a car in the temple's parking lot, which immediately made the police suspicious and policemen ordered them to stop.

One of the three then began running, so the police fired at him and an explosive belt he was wearing blew up. A second man had a gun and started shooting at the police before he was shot and killed. The third attacker was wounded in the shootout and arrested by an undercover policeman.

Badr said the nationalities of the three men have yet to be determined. His account and that of the security officials could not immediately be reconciled, but that is common in the immediate aftermath of major attacks.

There were only a handful of tourists and Egyptians inside the temple at the time of the attack, added the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The explosion left large parts of the temple's parking lot covered in debris. Hundreds of onlookers and workers from a line of stores just outside the temple gathered after the attack as ambulance cars rushed to the scene.

The last time Luxor had seen such a significant attack was in November 1997, when Islamic militants opened fire on tourists at the city's 3,400-year-old Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank of the Nile, killing 58.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Luxor, home to some of Egypt's most famous ancient temples and pharaonic tombs, including that of King Tutankhamun. The city has been hit hard by a sharp downturn in foreign visitors in the four years since Egypt's 2011 uprising.

Wednesday's attack bore all the hallmarks of Islamic militants who have been battling security forces in the strategic Sinai Peninsula for years.

Last year, the Sinai-based insurgent group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has destroyed famed archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq, viewing them as idolatrous.

The campaign of violence in Sinai accelerated and spread to other parts of Egypt following the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The militants say the attacks are in revenge for a massive crackdown on Islamists underway in Egypt.

The attack on the Luxor temple comes as Egypt tries to rehabilitate its vital tourism industry, which accounted for as much as 20 percent of foreign currency revenues before its 2011 revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and later years of turmoil.

From a high of 14.7 million tourists in 2010, Egypt has had an average of around 9 million a year since then, though officials say tourists slowly are coming back. Government officials say the tourism industry saw revenues jump to $4 billion in the first half of this year, compared to $1.9 billion in the same period last year.

But Wednesday's attack is also likely to result in cancellations in bookings for Luxor, although that would only involve small numbers, given that the tourist season in Luxor ends around May when temperatures begin to rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), forcing tourists to stay away until October.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...