Bomb Hurled at Main Synagogue in Cairo; No Casualties

Cairo police: Man threw suitcase with explosives at synagogue from the window of a nearby hotel.

A man hurled a suitcase containing a makeshift bomb at Cairo's main downtown synagogue early Sunday morning, but there were no injuries or damage, police said.

According to the police report, a man entered a hotel located on the fourth floor of a building across from the synagogue in the early hours of the morning and as he was checking in, abruptly threw his suitcase out the window.

The case contained four containers of gasoline each attached to a glass bottle of sulfuric acid meant to shatter on impact and ignite the makeshift bomb, said police.

Police said the bag fell onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel and briefly caught fire before being extinguished.

There were no injuries and no damage to the historic synagogue.

The suspect fled the scene after hurling his suitcase, which also contained his clothes, bits of cotton, matches and a lighter, and is now being sought by police.

The downtown synagogue, Egypt's largest, is the only one still conducting services for the Jewish high holidays, which are sometimes attended by Israeli diplomats.

The temple, known as Shaar Hashamayim, or the Gate of Heaven, was built in 1899 in a style evoking ancient Egyptian temples and was once the largest building on the wide downtown boulevard.

Egypt's once-thriving Jewish community largely left the country 50 years ago during hostilities between Egypt and Israel, but a number of heavily guarded synagogues remain.

Egypt's Jewish community, which dates back millennia and in the 1940s numbered around 80,000, is down to several dozen, almost all of them elderly.

Egypt and Israel fought a war every decade from the 1940s to the 1970s until the 1979 peace treaty was signed.

Despite that treaty, Egyptian sentiment remains unfriendly to Israel, and anti-Semitic stereotypes still occasionally appear in the Egyptian media.

Since an Islamist insurgency based in southern Egypt was quashed in the 1990s, there have been few organized terrorist attacks in Egypt's Nile valley and the capital Cairo. There have, however, in a number of amateurish attempts to attack foreigners over the years.

In February 2009, a crude explosive device planted in a bazaar popular with tourists killed a French teenager.