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Deadly Cairo attack caught on tape

September 19, 1997
Web posted at: 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT)

Latest developments:

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Amateur video of a fiery terrorist attack surfaced Friday, one day after nine German tourists and an Egyptian bus driver were killed outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The pictures, taken from a nearby hotel balcony, show survivors of the firebombing jumping from a rear window as the front of the parked bus burns. After the first German tourist gets out, he helps others escape.

There is also a brief glimpse of a suspect being tackled by police.

vxtreme VXtreme of Amateur Video

Witnesses said three men in white shirts and ties walked up to the bus, and fired rifles and hurled gasoline bombs as German tourists were climbing aboard.

'Deranged gunman' blamed

Egyptian officials said a "deranged gunman" and his brother were responsible. The government hopes to distance Thursday's attack from others carried out by Muslim militants who want to destabilize Egypt's vital tourist industry and set up an Islamic fundamentalist government.

Police identified two of the suspects as . A police statement said Saber Abu el-Ulla had been convicted of a 1993 attack on a Cairo hotel that left two Americans and a Frenchman dead.

It said he had been committed to a mental institution but escaped three days ago. However, police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he had been released after spending two years in the institution.

Police said a possible accomplice also was arrested, and they alluded to a fourth suspect who escaped, although there were conflicting reports about whether authorities had in custody -- or still were looking for -- another person.

The motive for Thursday's attack was unclear, but in the past, Muslim militants seeking to overthrow the Egyptian government have targeted tourists.

Incident impacts tourism

Police set up checkpoints around the city and intensified at hotels and tourist sites.

The government-run al-Ahram newspaper said police rounded up 12 people -- including a restaurant owner who allegedly served the gunmen dinner on Wednesday.

In related developments Friday:

  • Eighteen tourists who survived the attack home in Germany to emotional reunions with relatives and friends at the Frankfurt airport. Twenty-four people were wounded; some were still being treated in a Cairo hospital.
  • The German government warned its citizens to avoid high-risk areas in Egypt.
  • Tour operators in Germany said they were being deluged by calls from people wanting to cancel, reschedule or change their tours to Egypt.

    But the attack appeared to have little effect on the visitors already in Egypt, and travel agents in Cairo and Britain said tourist cancellations were minimal. Four million tourists visited Egypt last year, and officials say they expect even more this year.

Correspondent James Martone and Reuters contributed to this report.


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