CAIRO — A suicide bomber killed two police officers and wounded three more while he was being pursued near Cairo’s famed Khan el-Khalili tourist marketplace, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said Monday.
The explosion in the Gamaliya district was a rarity for a central area of the capital, after progress from a security crackdown under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
A body was seen on the street behind areas cordoned off by dozens of police and soldiers after the explosion, which shattered windows and blew curtains off nearby balconies. Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar mosque is nearby.
Officials said the suspect was being chased by policemen as he was believed to have planted an explosive device last week near a mosque.
“As security surrounded the man and was set to arrest and control him, an explosive device in his possession went off,” the ministry said.
It said the man was pursued “as part of the interior ministry’s efforts to search for the perpetrator” behind the targeting by an explosive device of a security detail stationed near a mosque in Giza on Friday.
Security had defused the device then, the ministry said.
Egypt has for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which surged following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The attacks have been mainly concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but have also spread to the mainland.
In December, three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo.
Egyptian security forces launched a major anti-militant operation in February 2018 focused on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.
On Saturday, an attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint in the Sinai left 15 soldiers dead or wounded and seven of the suspected jihadist assailants killed, according to the military.