Deadly Blast at Italian Consulate in Cairo

Deadly Blast at Italian Consulate in CairoDeadly Blast at Italian Consulate in Cairo

A car bomb exploded early Saturday outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo, destroying several floors of the historic building in a powerful blast that killed one Egyptian, the latest casualty in an ongoing militant campaign targeting the country's security forces.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, though Egypt faces threats from insurgent factions, including an Islamic State affiliate in its restive Sinai Peninsula that the military said killed at least 17 soldiers in a recent assault there, AP reported. The Italian Consulate bombing struck at around 6:30 a.m. local time, exploding in a side street in downtown Cairo near the building's back entrance and a busy highway overpass. Italian authorities said the consulate was closed at the time and none of its workers was wounded.

The blast killed a passerby and wounded eight, the interior ministry said in a statement. Egyptian Heath Ministry official Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar said the man killed had some of his limbs blown off.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after the attack. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni also said Italy would increase security at Italian sites in Cairo and greater Egypt. An Egyptian security official said investigators were reviewing closed-circuit video recordings from the area, noting that one vehicle that disintegrated in the explosion had license plates from the canal city of Suez. The blast heavily damaged the distinctive early 20th century building that once housed a school and became the Italian Consulate after World War II.

Charred car parts littered the street, which flooded in some areas from ruptured water pipes. Several floors of the consulate were destroyed on one side, leaving a gaping hole.