Egyptian police seen in the scene of the first bomb near the Egyptian Museum.
Additional Reporting by Hamdy Al-Husseini, IOL Staff
CAIRO, April 30, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Cairo Saturday, April 30, was the scene of a bombing attack and a shootout apparently targeting tourists, killing three persons and wounding seven others, including four foreigners.
The first bombing took place near the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo at Gen. Abdul Munem Riyadh Square, killing one man and injuring seven others including four tourists.
Health Minister Dr. Mohammad Awad Taggudin told state-run Nile News channel that the injured are three Egyptians, two Israelis, a Swede and an Italian.
He added injured Egyptians were rushed to Al-Munira public hospital, where the foreigners were taken to Kasr El-Eini hospital. Three foreigners were slightly wounded and the fourth was in serious condition.
On the kind of bomb used in the attack, the minister said that the Interior Ministry will issue later in the day a statement on the grisly incident.
Security sources initially said that someone may have thrown a bomb from a nearby bridge, directly hitting a bystander and other tourists.
They later said that a man called Ibrahim Yousri blew himself up at the back of the museum, Reuters said.
The dead man’s body was lying on the pavement near a bridge across the Nile and his head was in pieces, panicked witnesses told IOL.
IOL correspondent on the scene said that a powerful explosion was heard in Abdul Munem Riyadh Square and ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast.
He added the place has not been crowded as usual but regularly frequented by tourists, noting that a police cordon was thrown up around the site and traffic movement has come to a standstill.
The Egyptian Museum has the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities from the time of the Pharaohs and is a popular tourist destination. But the bomb exploded at the back of the museum, some distance from the entrance.
In the district of Al-Saida Eisha in Old Cairo, Egyptian police further said that they killed two women after they opened fire on a tourist bus.
Earlier police reports said two people had died in what was thought to be an explosion near the bus, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
There were no immediate reports on the identities of the women.
Al-Jazeera television previously reported that two explosives-laden young women attempted to get on a tourist bus and blew themselves up when they were unable to.
On April 7, a man killed himself and three tourists when the bomb he was carrying exploded among a group of tourists in the historical Al-Azhar district downtown Cairo, killing two French citizens, a US national and the bomber.
Egyptian authorities have arrested at least nine people in connection with the attack on the Khan El-Khalili market.
That bombing was the first against foreign targets in Cairo in more than seven years. Afterwards, authorities beefed up security around the country's main tourists attractions and embassies urged their citizens to keep a low profile.
Last October, at least 34 people, including several Israeli tourists, were killed in triple bomb attacks on the Hilton hotel Taba and two nearby resorts in the Sinai Peninsula. More than 10 were wounded.
Sources told Al-Jazeera that the museum’s incident may have come to avenge the death in an Egyptian custody of the cousin of an Egyptian wanted in connection with Khan El-Khalili bombing.
Mohammad Suleiman Youssef, 40, was the cousin of Ashraf Said Youssef, identified by the Interior Ministry as the fugitive who recruited the bomber who blew himself up in the Islamic district.
A police source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that police sent the man’s body back to his village north of Cairo for burial.
The man was a primary school teacher in the northern Cairo suburb of Shubra El-Khaima, where the bomber also lived.
Friends of the man went to the village to pay condolences to his family but found no one at home, one friend told Reuters.
Two of the dead man’s brothers are also in custody, he added.
The circumstances of Youssef’s death were unclear and a spokesman at the Interior Ministry told Reuters he had no information about the case.
The government-financed Supreme Council for Human Rights said in its first annual report this month that at least nine Egyptians died in detention during 2004 and that torture was commonplace in Egyptian detention facilities.