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Suicide attacks target Egypt's Luxor

A suicide bomber and two gunmen have targeted Egypt's ancient temple of Karnak in Luxor. No tourists were harmed, according to state security sources, who added that four Egyptians were, however, wounded.

Egyptian police said they foiled attacks on a key tourist attraction in southern Egypt on Wednesday. Security sources said the three assailants were killed as they struck in a parking lot near the temple.

An Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman and security sources quoted by Reuters said the wounded including bazaar shop owners and police officers.

The two gunmen emerged from a car and engaged in gunfire with police, who killed them. The third assailant crossed a barricade and detonated explosives he was carrying.

There were no immediately claims of responsibility. The Egyptian news agency MENA said no tourists were among the casualties.

There were only a handful of tourists and Egyptians inside the temple at the time of the late morning attack, according to officials quoted by Associated Press.

Near location of 1997 attack

Luxor was the scene of one of Egypt's worst terrorist attacks in 1997, when Islamist militants stormed the Queen Hatshepsut temple, killing 62 people, including 58 foreign tourists.

That attack was a major setback for Egypt's tourism sector, which remains one of the Middle East nation's top earners of income and foreign currency.

Last week, near the Giza Pyramids, gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead two police officers.

The Karnak temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site near Luxor, is renowned for its series of 10 monumental entrances and the 134 towering lotus-topped columns in its central hall.

Incident in Sinai region

Reuters also quoted security sources in Egypt's Sinai region as saying that assailants had fired rockets toward the region's airport which is used by multinational peacekeeping observers.

Responsibility for that attack was claimed by "Sinai Province," an affiliate of the jihadist "Islamic State" (IS) movement active in parts of Syria and Iraq.

The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) was created as a result of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Sinai has been the scene of numerous terrorist attacks, including the killing of tourists in 2005.

ipj/sms (Reuters, AP)

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