At least one dead in blast at Italy consulate in Cairo
A policeman stands at the base of the crumbled facade of the Italian consulate following a blast that killed at least one person in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 11, 2015. An Italian embassy official said the consulate was closed at the time of the explosion and no staff members were injured. AP Photo/ Mohammed el-RaaiAt least one person was killed July 11 in a powerful explosion that partly damaged the Italian consulate in central Cairo, health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said.
His statement came after a medic told an AFP journalist at the scene of the blast that it had wounded two policemen and three passers-by, but Abdel Ghaffar was unable to specify if the dead person was a member of the security forces or the public.
"Bombing against our consulate in Cairo, there are no Italian victims," Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted shortly after the attack. "Our thoughts are with the people affected and with our personnel. Italy will not let itself be intimidated."
Islamist militants have carried out roadside bombs and suicide bombing attacks which have so far targeted members of the security forces and officials, according to Reuters.
The violence, and political turmoil triggered by the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, have hurt Egypt's tourism industry, a pillar of the economy.
Media reports said an Egyptian was wounded by the blast. The blast occurred early in the morning on a weekend during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan - a time of day when there is little congestion.
The MENA report cited witnesses as saying the explosion had caused massive destruction to the building. The force of the blast shook a building in downtown Cairo and could be heard in many neighbourhoods.
A Western diplomat said he was aware of the explosion in front of the consulate but could not confirm that the building was the target.
A Sinai-based insurgency has escalated since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule in 2013.
Two weeks ago, a car bomb killed the country's top public prosecutor and militants affiliated to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked several military checkpoints in North Sinai, in what was the fiercest fighting in the region in years.
The army said 17 soldiers and more than 100 militants were killed in those clashes.