Egypt police thwarted a militant attack near an ancient temple in Karnak in Southern Egypt on Wednesday morning, authorities revealed. Two assailants were killed and one was injured during the confrontation with security forces at Luxor, Egypt.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the attackers confronted the security forces at Karnak with firearms and explosives. Plainclothes policemen tried to stop three men who tried to intrude the temple’s parking lot in a car. A militant tried to hug an approaching policeman, who wrestled away. He detonated explosives moments later and others started firing wildly from automatic weapons. Security forces confronted them, and two were killed, Egypt’s Tourism Ministry said. One person died while detonating the bomb, while the other was shot in the head, added the Interior Ministry. The third militant was wounded.
The country’s Health Ministry clarified in a statement that total five people were injured including civilians.
“The policeman who stopped the vehicle sustained minor injuries, but due to his heroic actions, many other potential victims were saved and thankfully no tourists were harmed,” Tourism Minister Khaled Rami said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered an intensified security presence at vital sites in the country after the militant attack including the sites of antiquity, President’s office told CNN.
Thousands of tourists visit the temples at Luxor and Karnak everyday. The country’s minister of antiquity and minister of tourism reached Luxor on Wednesday to assess the situation.
In 1997, gunmen killed 62 people at Luxor, most of the victims were foreign tourists. This is the first attempted terror strike at the Luxor tourist site since that incident. Last week, gunmen shot two police officers dead in an attack few hundred meters away from the Pyramids of Giza.
The violence points to a change in tactics by the Islam-militants against the current government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.