Terrorist attack at Khan Al Khali too close to home

I was just talking to my mom about the famed market, Khan Al Khali when my friend told me that a terrorist attack took place about an hour ago. An RA for my dorm just came by our room to ask if we knew anyone who had gone there today, since it affected foreigners.

This is the same market where I have been to many times before, once by myself last week to pick up some jewelry from the famed New Onix store (which I of course could not find and a dozen Egyptian men were too eager to help me through the alleys). It is an easy place to get lost in, and be overwhelmed by the crowd on the weekends, and meet some of the most interesting locals as well. It is one of me and my friends’ favorite places to go whether for Egyptian pancakes or to just shop around for traditional goods.

It happened literally almost over an hour ago so the news is scarce as they are apparently not allowing media into the site.

So far, the AFP states:

One tourist killed, 14 wounded by Cairo bomb

CAIRO (AFP) — A French tourist was killed and 13 people, among them other European holidaymakers, wounded on Sunday when a bomb went off near a cafe in the Cairo tourist area of Khan al-Khalil, police said.

The wounded included one Austrian and 11 French tourists, a police officer said.

Witnesses told AFP that two bombs were thrown from a rooftop overlooking a street lined with cafes and restaurants near the Hussein mosque.

Another bomb which did not initially explode went off after police cordoned off the area and sent in a bomb disposal unit, police said.

The neighbourhood was the scene of a previous bomb attack in 2005 in which two tourists were killed and 18 wounded.

And as I write this the BBC has just released information here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7904731.stm

Sunday’s explosion would be of a huge concern to Egypt’s security services, the BBC’s Christian Fraser in Cairo says.

These are tense times for the Egyptian government, our correspondent says.

He adds that the government has been criticised for its stance over over a recent conflict in Gaza and has many enemies.

This is certainly a bit too close to home. Especially since I was planning to visit tomorrow to buy a few more things for my family before I visit Saudi Arabic this weekend. And also especially since we are always told to be careful, but we just don’t expect bombs to be thrown at where we happen to be. A bit surreal, and yet believable given the political climate of the region. And yet having been here a month and finally getting used to the hustle and bustle of the city, this event makes me feel entirely new to Cairo yet again.

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