Egyptian prosecutors contradicted Thursday police claims they had foiled a suicide and gun attack at the ancient Karnak temple by preventing assailants from entering the site.
Police said Wednesday the attempted attack was foiled after policemen asked to search bags in the trunk of a taxi trying to enter the site in Luxor and discovered a cache of weapons.
They said a passenger jumped out of the taxi and triggered an explosives-laden vest, killing only himself, while officers killed one of his accomplices and wounded the other.
Officials, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, hailed the police for foiling the assault, with Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy saying “vigilant police work” had prevented a major attack.
But the Luxor prosecutor in charge of the investigation has told AFP the would-be assailants had been able to enter the parking lot unhindered and it was the taxi driver who warned police.
“They pretended to be tourists and entered the parking lot of the temple without any proper security check,” Wael Abu Deif said, citing witnesses.
Two men left the taxi and joined a third accomplice at a sidewalk cafe, “waiting for a large group of tourists to attack,” he said.
“Their suspicious taxi driver then reported them to a policeman, who went to the cafe and asked to search the bags they had. Then one blew himself up and the gunfight started,” the prosecutor added.