Egypt: Militants tried to attack the ancient temple of Karnak in southern Egypt on Wednesday, with a suicide bomber blowing himself up and two gunmen battling police. No sightseers were hurt in the thwarted assault, but it suggested that Islamic extremists are shifting targets from security forces to the country's vital tourism industry.
The violence left the bomber and one gunman dead, the other wounded and arrested, and four other people wounded. The temple was not damaged.
The attackers carried guns in backpacks, and one wore a belt of explosives. They rode in a taxi through a police checkpoint to a parking lot and sat at a cafe and ordered lemonades, witnesses said. The taxi driver, suspicious after they refused his offer to help with the packs, alerted police.
When a policeman approached, the bomber tried to hug him, but the policeman wrestled away. Seconds later, he detonated the explosives, and the others pulled automatic weapons from their bags and opened fire wildly, sending a small group of European tourists running for cover, the witnesses said.
The attack followed one this month outside the famed Giza Pyramids in which gunmen killed two policemen. The violence points to a change in tactics by Islamic militants against the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. For two years, attacks have been centered in the Sinai Peninsula, mostly by a group that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group and largely focused on retaliation against police and soldiers.