A car bomb outside the Italian consulate in Cairo has killed one Egyptian, the latest casualty in an ongoing Islamic militant campaign targeting the country’s security forces.
Several floors of the historic building were destroyed in the explosion, for which there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Egypt is facing threats from insurgent factions including an Islamic State affiliate in its restive Sinai Peninsula, where the military has reported that at least 17 soldiers were killed in a recent assault.
The explosion at the Italian consulate came early in a side street in downtown Cairo near the building’s back entrance and a busy highway overpass. The Italian authorities said the consulate was closed at the time and none of its staff members were wounded.
A passerby, however, was killed and eight others were wounded, including one who was still in hospital, the Interior Ministry reported.
The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, spoke with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt after the attack. According to a statement released later from Mr Renzi’s office, he expressed his strong support: “We will not leave Egypt alone: Italy and Egypt are and will always be together in the fight against terrorism.”
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Italy would increase security at its sites in Cairo and throughout Egypt.
Locals gathered near the site of the blast, as police cordoned off the streets leading to the consulate. Several foreign journalists were detained at the scene by police, but later released.
An Egyptian security official said investigators were reviewing CCTV recordings from the area, noting that one vehicle that disintegrated in the explosion had licence plates from the seaport city of Suez.