5 Dec 2015

Firebomb attack kills 16 in Egypt

6:18 am on 5 December 2015

Sixteen people have been killed in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, after firebombs were thrown into a restaurant, officials say.

The attack took place at the El Sayad restaurant, in the central Agouza area.

Egyptian officials say six suspects are believed to have targeted the building after two of them had earlier been barred from entering.

The restaurant was in the basement, with only one door leading out, making it harder for people to escape.

The victims died from burns or the effects of inhaling smoke, Reuters news agency said. Three other people were injured.

Eleven of those who died were members of staff, AP quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim as saying.

Video shot at the scene by an Egyptian news site showed thick, grey smoke billowing out of a doorway at street level as passersby tried to get close. Flames could be seen inside the entrance, as one man used a fire extinguisher to try to tackle the blaze.

The venue also served as an unofficial nightclub, reports said.

Cairo has previously been rocked by a series of attacks on security forces and civilians carried out by suspected Islamist militants.

An Islamist insurgency intensified in the wake of the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.