Three held over Cairo bombing as conspiracy theories circulate

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Egyptian security services have arrested three suspects in connection with Sunday’s attack on a Cairo tourist hotspot that killed a French teenager and injured 24.

A 17-year-old girl from Paris on a school trip to the city died when a bomb exploded near a bazaar and some of Egypt’s holiest monuments

Police said they had arrested three people at the scene. As traders at the Khan el-Khalili bazaar began to return to their stalls last night, conspiracy theories were circulating about the identity of the bombers and whether elements of the Egyptian security services could have been involved.

No one has claimed responsibility but the media has been speculating the perpetrators could be anyone from Sinai Peninsula Bedouins to Pakistani militants.

The MP for the area hit by the blast, Haider Baghdady, from the ruling NDP party, said Iran may have been responsible, an accusation likely to exacerbate tensions between Cairo and Tehran.

Some commentators have linked the blast to a parliamentary debate scheduled for next month over the renewal of Egypt’s 28-year-old Emergency Law. The legislation has been in place since Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981. It enables police to detain citizens indefinitely without charge, block demonstrations and censor media.

The Egyptian government has been accused of manufacturing terrorist attacks for political purposes before but has denied the claims.

The bombing, the first attack on Westerners since 2006, is expected to damage tourism, the country’s biggest source of revenue.