Device Detonated Near U.S. Embassy In Cairo

Reuters reports that a man was detained on Tuesday by Egyptian security forces after an explosive device detonated near the U.S. Embassy in central Cairo.

According to sources, no casualties have been reported. A witness said she heard a blast and then saw a man with a backpack that had caught on fire close to the Semiramis Hotel, which is across the road from the embassy.

Security officials threw the man to the ground as the fire was extinguished, according to the witness. According to CBS News, the man was also found to be in possession of a firearm. There are also reports that a second explosive device was found near the embassy but those reports have not been confirmed yet.

On its Twitter account, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said it was aware of an incident that had been reported and people were asked to avoid the area. Security forces then cordoned off the area after the incident and there was a heavy police presence.

Egyptian authorities have not yet identified the man, but according to CBS News, he was intercepted outside the concrete blast barriers that encircle the U.S. embassy and nearby British embassy in the leafy district of Garden City.

Not too long after news of the incident spread, the embassy posted another tweet saying that normal business had resumed and that Egyptian authorities had finished their investigation.

Video footage from a surveillance camera has surfaced on social media and appears to be taken from the event, but so far it’s unconfirmed. It appears to show the man walking toward the embassy’s perimeter with a backpack and an object in his hand before he disappears in a puff of smoke. A few moments later security forces can be seen running to the area.

In other videos, a man is shown being taken into police custody. CBS News reports they were unable to verify the authenticity of any of these videos, but they do match the accounts given by witnesses and local media.

Cairo, Egypt
Featured image credit: Salah MalkawiGetty Images

According to the Mirror, the UK’s Foreign Office, visiting Egypt could be dangerous for foreigners.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company if you have one.”

This is not the first time someone has attacked an American embassy. In July, a man attempted to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Beijing by throwing a homemade explosive into the compound but it exploded in the street before he could throw it.