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A screen grab of Cairo in Google Map.
A screen grab of Cairo in Google Map.

Blast at Italian Consulate in Cairo kills 1

An Egyptian security official said one civilian and one policeman were also injured

Cairo: 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 7am 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.

Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in militant attacks in Egypt since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Over the same period, at least 1,400 people, mostly Islamists, have killed in a security crackdown on protests.

The deadliest attacks against the security forces have occurred in the Sinai Peninsula, most of them claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. But Cairo and cities and towns in the Nile Delta have also been targeted in such attacks, which have left hundreds of soldiers and police dead.

(AFP contributed to this story.)

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