CAIRO: There was a heavy security presence outside the Adly Street Synagogue in Downtown Cairo Sunday morning following reports of a possible attack on it.
When Daily News Egypt arrived at the scene at around 9 am, forensics units were examining what looked like charred materials on the pavement opposite the temple.
The materials appeared to be clothes next to which there were two or three dark green bottles. There were broken glass shards along the length of the street opposite the temple, and a smell of sulfur was detectable.
One tourist present at the scene told Daily News Egypt that early Sunday morning he saw a fire opposite the temple.
“But it was just a small fire. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about?
Another eyewitness described what he said was a “bag on fire on the pavement.
A member of the Jewish community, who spoke to Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity, said that an official from State Security said that there had been an attempt to break into the synagogue.
Daily News Egypt was unable to confirm the allegation.
The Panorama Hotel, housed on the fourth floor of a building opposite the temple was filled with police officers and forensic experts.
A plain-clothed policeman told Daily News Egypt that a bag had been thrown from the window of the hotel. This was subsequently confirmed by another police officer.
Police officers were overheard describing “a man running down the stairs fleeing the hotel.
Police were also seen removing a window frame bearing white marks, from the hotel.
According to a statement by the interior ministry published by the Middle East News Agency (MENA) and sent to this newspaper by the Foreign Press Center via email at around 1:15 pm, “an unknown person had entered the Panorama Hotel opposite the synagogue at around 6:15 am.
The man was carrying a medium-sized bag as he requested a room in the three-star hotel. According to the statement, as his request was being processed, the man rushed to the window and threw a “primitive explosive device before fleeing. He escaped through a small alleyway next to the hotel building.
The statement described the “explosive device as being composed of four gasoline canisters containing one-liter bottles of sulfuric acid, a piece of cotton and a box of matches. The bottles allegedly broke on impact, leading to the other contents catching fire.