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article imageEgypt police say foiled suicide attack in Luxor

By AFP     Jun 10, 2015 in World

Egyptian police said they foiled an attempted suicide bomb attack Wednesday on one of the country's most popular tourist destinations in Luxor, killing two militants.

Police said one attacker detonated a bomb and two other assailants died in a firefight close to the famed Karnak temple in Luxor, a town 700 kilometres (435 miles) of Cairo.

A source at the interior ministry said no tourists were hurt.

Luxor police said officers opened fire on three men after they had had refused to undergo security screening at a checkpoint outside the temple, shooting two of them dead.

The third attacker managed to detonate a bomb he was carrying, according to officers on the scene.

Local health ministry official Nahed Mohamed told AFP there were "two militants killed and one wounded" in the foiled attack, adding that two civilians and two policemen were also wounded.

The police kept visitors at the temple inside the site during the operation, a senior antiquities ministry official told AFP.

"Security forces in Luxor foiled a terrorist operation... Two terrorists killed and a third was wounded," the police said in a statement.

Jihadists have claimed regular bomb attacks in Egypt since the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and a brutal crackdown on his supporters.

Tourists have been largely spared from attacks although a suicide bombing last year on a tour bus in the restive Sinai Peninsula, home of the local branch of the jihadist Islamic State group, killed three South Koreans and their Egyptian driver.

Map locating the Egyptian town of Luxor
Map locating the Egyptian town of Luxor
, Graphics/AFP

Karnak was built on the ruins of Thebes, one of the capitals of ancient Egypt. Its huge temple is dedicated to the god Amon.

Tourism in Egypt has faltered since early 2011, when a popular uprising toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak after three decades in power.

Years of instability and a rising tide of attacks claimed by jihadists have scared off would-be visitors, damaging the economy and sending Egypt's foreign currency reserves plunging.

Luxor has had to deal with numerous blows, including a deadly hot air balloon crash in 2013 that killed 19 tourists.

The town took several years to recover from a 1997 massacre when Islamist gunmen open fire on tourists at an ancient temple complex, killing 58 foreigners and their four Egyptian guards.

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