CAIRO (AP) — The latest news on the blast outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo early Saturday morning (all times local):
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has announced that the Egyptian government will pay for restoring and repairing the Italian Consulate after a car bombing there.
“It is considered an important historical building, to say nothing of the relationships of friendship that join Egypt and Italy,” Badr Abdel Atty said in a statement.
The blast early Saturday heavily damaged several floors of the Italian Consulate building, leaving a gaping hole. The bombing, purportedly claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State group, killed one person.
Online supporters of an Islamic State affiliate in Egypt are circulating a claim of responsibility for the car bombing that killed one person outside of the Italian Consulate in Cairo.
The claim, signed Islamic State Egypt, says the car contained 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of explosives.
The authenticity of the claim Saturday could not be immediately verified but it was distributed widely on social media like prior claims made by the group.
Pope Francis has added his voice to those condemning the car bombing of an Italian Consulate in Egypt, following what he called a “wave of other attacks that already claimed the lives of numerous persons.”
In a telegram to the Egyptian president, Francis has appealed to “political and religious players at all levels to unite their efforts to combat with ever more determination the plague of terrorism and to promote harmony and solidarity.”
The blast early Saturday morning killed one person and wounded eight. It heavily damaged a section of the building and ruptured water lines, flooding the area.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has condemned the car bombing at the Italian Consulate in Cairo that killed one person, saying: “We extend our condolences to the family of the victim of this attack and wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
The embassy’s statement added: “We reiterate our steadfast support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism.”
The blast early Saturday destroyed several floors of the historic building that’s home to the consulate. The bombing comes amid an ongoing Islamic militant campaign targeting Egyptian security forces.
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has contacted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and expressed Italy’s full support for Egypt’s fight against terrorism.
“Italy knows that terrorism is an enormous challenge that deeply marks history in our time,” Renzi told el-Sissi Saturday morning, according to a statement from Renzi’s office. “We will not leave Egypt alone: Italy and Egypt are and will always be together in the fight against terrorism.”
Also, Egypt’s Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar visited the site of the downtown Cairo bombing. Television footage showed Abdel-Ghaffar examining the wreckage.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni says his country will not be intimidated by the deadly explosion that damaged the Italian Consulate building in Cairo.
The blast early Saturday morning killed one person and injured four others, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry. It heavily damaged the building and ruptured water lines, flooding the area.
Police were still investigating the cause of the blast, and there was no claim of responsibility. Gentiloni posted a message on his Twitter feed saying “our thoughts are with the people affected and with our personnel. Italy will not let itself be intimidated.”
The blast took place at around 6:20 a.m. on a weekend and the consulate was not open. No Italian personnel were injured, an Italian official in Cairo told The Associated Press.
According to an Associated Press reporter on the scene, the blast heavily damaged several floors of the Italian Consulate building, leaving a gaping hole with bricks spilling from it and its red facade peeling off. Water from a broken pipe flooded the street.
Police ringed off the area with tape before investigators arrived. Charred car parts were scattered onto the street. A charred, baseball-size piece of an engine block was found blown over a row of buildings onto a parallel street.
“I was sleeping when the explosion went off, it blew in my window and when I went outside the air was full of dust,” said Ahmed Hasan, 20, a neighbor whose leg had minor cuts. He said the bomb went off at 6:20 a.m. and that he saw someone with a severed leg.
Egyptian officials say an explosion in downtown Cairo outside the Italian Consulate has killed at least one person.
Heath Ministry official Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told The Associated Press that at least one person was killed in the blast.
An Egyptian security official said one civilian and one policeman were also injured. An Italian embassy official said the consulate was closed at the time of the explosion and no staff members were injured. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief the media.
The blast ruptured underground water pipes, flooding the area. The security official said the exact cause was still unclear. The state-owned Middle East News Agency quoted a security official as saying investigators are looking into whether an explosive device was placed under a car parked near the building.
The explosion struck one of the busiest intersections in Cairo, a major artery that connects Ramsis Square to the heart of downtown Cairo. Even before 7 a.m. on a weekend in the middle of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the area around the blast would have been crowded with cars, pedestrians and mini-buses.
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