More police than tourists in Egypt’s Luxor after foiled attack

The Karnak temple in Egypt's Luxor was open as usual Thursday despite a foiled suicide and gun attack on the world-famous site that police said would have been a "massacre".

At around 10:00 am (0800 GMT), by which time dozens of tourist buses would normally be parked around the ancient temple, only seven coaches and three minibuses had arrived, an AFP correspondent said.

About 200 tourists were strolling inside the temple itself, around 50 metres (yards) from the scene of Wednesday's foiled attack, but were far outnumbered by police around the site.

A local official told AFP that several tours had been cancelled.

No tourists were hurt in Wednesday's attempted suicide bombing and gun attack, which saw police shoot dead one assailant and wound another after they refused to have their bags searched outside Karnak.

A third attacker detonated an explosives-rigged vest, killing himself.

A police general said authorities had prevented "a massacre" at Karnak, as the three assailants were armed with explosives, machine guns and 19 fully loaded rifle magazines.

Police said there were about 600 tourists inside the temple when the attackers struck.

"For sure, there are fewer tourists than yesterday. Organised trips coming from the Red sea resort town of Hurghada were cancelled," Salah al-Masekh, director of excavations at Karnak, told AFP.

Authorities beefed up security all over the city, especially outside its archaeological sites, with police vehicles full of masked special forces officers patrolling every monument, an unusual activity according to residents.

On Wednesday night, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Interior Minister General Magdi Abdel Ghaffar, and stressed "the need to intensify the security presence in vital areas, including archaeological sites".

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