A bomb exploded at the Italian consulate in Downtown Cairo early Saturday morning leaving one dead and nine injured, according to a statement from the health ministry.
The explosion occurred around 6:20 am, inflicting damages to the consulate building and many nearby buildings and cars. One side of the building could be seen collapsed.
The explosion is believed to have been caused by a car bomb. The injured were transported to the nearby Al-Hilal and Railway hospitals, according to the Ministry of Health’s initial report on the case. Six of them were released, while the other three remain under care.
The explosion, which occurred due to an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a vehicle parked outside the building, killed a passerby, according to a Ministry of Interior statement.
The statement added that eight were injured, and that seven of them were treated but later discharged.
The consulate is located in a highly central area near a number of official headquarters, including the High Court and the Judges’ Club. The area is also home to the headquarters of several media publications, including state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reached his Italian counterpart Paulo Gentiloni by phone and both diplomats strongly condemned the terrorist act. Gentiloni reiterated his country’s support for Egypt’s fight against terrorism.
Gentiloni tweeted about the explosion shortly after it occurred, saying there were no Italian victims, and that Italy is not intimidated.
For his part, Shoukry provided Gentiloni with all available information on the incident, whilst pledging that Egypt would continue its fight against terror and will root out all of its actors.
Four foreign journalists were arrested at the scene of the explosion while covering the aftermath. State television reported the four to be “suspects”.
David Degner, a photojournalist and one of the four, told Daily News Egypt that a police conscript grabbed him and demanded to see his paperwork, which Degner said he had, but was arrested anyway.
Degner said he was taking photos for approximately 10 to 15 minutes before he was arrested and taken to a nearby police cordon. He was accompanied by three other foreign journalists who had also been arrested.
He said that the conscript accused him of being at the location before the explosion occurred. Degner said he heard it happen and got into a taxi to attend the site immediately. Despite his arrest, he maintained that the treatment they received was largely acceptable.
Commenting on the state television report, he said that it was “concerning…because obviously we’re just journalists. They’re feeding into this narrative that they’ve created for a while, which makes it impossible for me to do my job.”
Al-Youm Al-Sabaa news outlet took a video of Degner being arrested and published it immediately. Degner said that this did not bother him, as long as he was not accused of being a suspect.