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Downtown Explosions Cause Minor Damage to Egyptian Museum

Downtown Explosions Cause Minor Damage to Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Egyptian Museum in Cairo

The windows of the Egyptian Museum’s first and second floor were smashed as a result of a blast in the vicinity of the Italian consulate in Cairo earlier on Saturday, the ministry of antiquities said.

The explosion, which killed one and injured 10 others, damaged parts of the Italian consulate building and destroyed the windows of nine buildings in its vicinity, reported the state news agency MENA.

The blast did not affect any of the Egyptian Museum’s collectibles or displays, said Mostafa Amin, the secretary general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities in a statement by the ministry.

Amin, who visited the museum shortly after the explosion, ordered that the windows be fixed on Saturday.

A ministry official meanwhile denied to MENA that the damaged consulate building is an archaeological site, noting that it is not listed as an Islamic or Coptic monument within the ministry.

Mohamed Abdel Lattif, head of the ministry’s Islamic and Coptic sector, said that the closest archaeological sites to the explosion are the Sultan Abul Ela Mosque, which belongs to the Memluk era, and the Arabic Music Institute. Neither of the sites was affected by the blast.

The consulate complex, a light orange building on downtown’s Ramses Street, houses the Italian Club and was once home to an Italian school before World War II.

Abdel Lattiff said the Antiquities’ Ministry is working with the tourism police to intensify security outside archaeological sites nationwide, reported MENA.

Cairo hosted a two-day conference on cultural heritage in May, in an effort to preserve archaeological property.

Egypt’s Museum of Islamic Art was badly damaged by an explosion which rocked the capital in January 2014, killing four people and destroying several artifacts kept in the museum.

The Malawi National Museum, in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya, was broken into and looted in August 2013, amid a wave of nationwide violence which followed the deadly dispersal of two sit-ins set up in support of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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