Update as of 04:04 a.m. EDT: One person has been reported killed after a car bomb was detonated outside the Italian consulate in Cairo, Egypt, according to Reuters.

The blast raises the prospect that Islamist militant groups in the country could open a new front in their campaign, targeting foreigners. 

Egypt has seen repeated incidents of widespread unrest and serious violence, since a 2011 uprising toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. 

Original story below

CAIRO (Reuters) - A huge explosion occurred in front of the Italian consulate in central Cairo on Saturday, wounding two policemen, state news agency MENA said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear but one security official said it was a car bomb. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

MENA cited a senior security source as saying preliminary investigations indicated that attackers had placed a bomb underneath a car near the consulate and remotely detonated it. MENA earlier cited a security source as saying two policemen were wounded in the attack.

Islamist militants have carried out roadside bombs and suicide bombing attacks which have so far targeted members of the security forces and officials.

The violence, and political turmoil triggered by the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, have hurt Egypt's tourism industry, a pillar of the economy.

Media reports said an Egyptian was wounded by the blast. The blast occurred early in the morning on a weekend during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan - a time of day when there is little congestion.

The MENA report cited witnesses as saying the explosion had caused massive destruction to the building. The force of the blast shook a building in downtown Cairo and could be heard in many neighborhoods.

A Western diplomat said he was aware of the explosion in front of the consulate but could not confirm that the building was the target.

A Sinai-based insurgency has escalated since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule in 2013.

Two weeks ago, a car bomb killed the country's top public prosecutor and militants affiliated to Islamic State attacked several military checkpoints in North Sinai, in what was the fiercest fighting in the region in years.

The army said 17 soldiers and more than 100 militants were killed in those clashes.

(Reporting by Cairo bureau; Writing by Michael Georgy)