Terrorists kill 9 tourists in Cairo attack
September 18, 1997
Web posted at: 7:53 a.m. EDT (1153 GMT)
CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Gunmen attacked a tourist bus in
one of Cairo's busiest squares Thursday, killing at least
nine tourists, including seven Germans, and wounding 19, police said.
Witnesses said at least three gunmen opened fire and tossed
what appeared to be hand grenades or Molotov cocktails at
buses parked outside the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.
One bus was completely gutted in the midday attack; minutes later, a second bus caught fire, witnesses said.
|Free-lance journalist Alphonso Van Marsh reported from the scene
Mass confusion in the heavy tourist area
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Recent history of terrorist attacks and Egypt's tourist industry
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"It is complete chaos here," said Alphonso Van Marsh, a
free-lance journalist at the scene. "There's just mass
An official in the office of museum director Mohammed
Salah said, "A terrorist has shot some people here. The
situation is very bad."
The attack comes amid a five-year campaign of violence by
Muslim extremists seeking to overthrow the government and
install strict Islamic rule. It also comes at the start of
Egypt's winter tourist season.
Shortly after the attack, state security police -- armed with
assault rifles -- cordoned off the area. Frightened tourists
fled from the famous museum where King Tutankamen's treasures are housed.
Witnesses said police exchanged gunfire with three gunmen.
They said one attacker was pummeled by police and onlookers
who mobbed him. The Interior Ministry said three attackers were in custody and referred to them as "terrorists," the word the government usually uses when referring to Muslim militants. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
An Indian businessman with an office across from the museum
said he heard sporadic gunfire for about 35 minutes as police
pursued the attackers. He said he saw two tourists who were
bleeding taken away by police.
More than 1,100 people have been killed during the five-year campaign of violence, including tourists, police officers and minority Coptic Christians.
In April 1996, gunmen opened fire on Greek and Australian
tourists who were about to board a bus outside Cairo's Europa
Hotel, near the pyramids. Eighteen Greeks died, and 16 Greeks
and an Egyptian were wounded.