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CAIRO - An explosion went off at a bazaar popular with tourists near Cairo's al-Azhar mosque Thursday, killing three and wounding 17 others, police said.

The unidentified remains of one of three people were that of an Egyptian who carried out the attack, Egypt's cabinet spokesman said.

The other two casualties were identified as an American and a French tourist.

Magdi Radi said initial investigations showed it was an individual operation. "It resulted from the explosion of a charge prepared in a basic way containing gunpowder and nails. Likewise it is probable that the one who has yet to be identified was the source of the explosion," he said in comments broadcast on state television.

Before officials concluded that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, Greater Cairo's security director Nabil el-Azabi said a male pedestrian threw a bomb in the busy tourist area of the Egyptian capital at about 5 P.M. local time. This contradicted earlier announcements made by local police sources saying a man on a motorcycle threw the bomb.

Reuters reported that at least three American citizens were hurt in the attack.

The bomb went off on one of the roads in Cairo's old city lined with shops catering for tourists, a Reuters reporter said. Police sealed off the road and shops were closed.

Egypt has largely seen calm since it suppressed a fierce campaign of violence by Islamic militants in the early 1990s. The last militant attack in the Egyptian capital came in September 1997, when two gunmen fired automatic rifles at a tour bus parked outside the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo, killing 12 people - mostly German tourists.

Last October, explosions hit several hotels in the Sinai Peninsula, including one in the resort of Taba, killing 34 people, mostly Israelis.