Four killed, 17 wounded in Cairo bombing | world | Hindustan Times
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Four killed, 17 wounded in Cairo bombing

world Updated: Feb 23, 2009 00:58 IST

A bomb in a landmark Cairo bazaar killed a French tourist and wounded 17 people, most of them holidaymakers, on Sunday in the first deadly violence against Westerners in Egypt since 2006.

A second bomb failed to detonate immediately but blew up after police had cordoned off the area, police said.

The two bombs were thrown from a rooftop overlooking a street lined with cafes and restaurants in Khan al-Khalili, a 1,500-year-old market that is one of the Egyptian capital's main tourist attractions, witnesses told AFP.

The Frenchman died in hospital, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali told state television.

The wounded consisted of 10 French tourists, two Germans, three Saudis and two Egyptians, he said, adding that one was in critical condition.

It was the first deadly attack on tourists in the Egyptian capital since a previous bomb attack in the same neighbourhood in 2005 which killed two tourists and wounded 18.

In April 2006, 20 holidaymakers were killed in the Red Sea resort of Dahab, one of a series of bombings in the Sinai peninsula that were blamed on militants loyal to Al-Qaeda.

Egypt was struck by a spate of deadly attacks on Westerners by Islamic militant groups in the 1990s that dealt a savage blow to the country's vital tourism sector.

In the deadliest single attack, 62 people, most of them tourists, were killed in an attack in the southern city of Luxor in 1997 that was claimed by the Gamaa Islamiyya (Islamic Group).

Egyptian militants have since played a prominent role in the leadership of the global jihadist network Al-Qaeda, with Ayman al-Zawahiri -- leader of the Gamaa's rival Islamic Jihad -- serving as number two to Osama bin Laden.

But apart from the Sinai bombings between 2004 and 2006. Egypt has since largely been spared deadly Islamist violence.

Tourist arrivals doubled between 2000 and 2007 to reach 11.1 million, when they earned Egypt 9.2 billion dollars in revenues, or 11.6 percent of the country's GNP. The industry also employs 12 percent of the workforce.

Only remittances from foreign workers and receipts from shipping through the Suez Canal rank anywhere near as importantly as sources of revenue for Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation.