Pope Francis on Saturday condemned a fatal car-bomb attack outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo, where one person was killed and eight others were injured. According to the Associated Press, the pope sent a telegram to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi calling for “political and religious players at all levels to unite their efforts to combat with ever more determination the plague of terrorism and to promote harmony and solidarity.”
The explosion took place in the early-morning hours, causing heavy damage to the building and sparking fears that Islamic militants have begun a fresh round of attacks against foreigners, Reuters reported.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast, according to Egyptian officials cited by NBC News. In a statement verified by the network’s security firm, the terrorist group claimed its operatives detonated a vehicle using 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of explosives.
Ahmed Hasan, a 20 year old who lives nearby, told the AP, “I was sleeping when the explosion went off. It blew in my window, and when I went outside, the air was full of dust.” Hasan suffered minor cuts to one leg in the explosion.
As CNN reported, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted out immediately that Italy is “not intimidated” by the attack. He added that consulate staff were not among those injured in the blast.
Bomba al nostro Consolato al #Cairo. Non risultano vittime italiane. Vicini alle persone colpite e al personale. Italia non si fa intimidire
— Paolo Gentiloni (@PaoloGentiloni) July 11, 2015
In a statement Saturday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Badr Abdel Atty, said Egypt will pay for restoring the consulate. “It is considered an important historical building, to say nothing of the relationships of friendship that join Egypt and Italy,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo also condemned the deadly blast, saying in a statement, "We extend our condolences to the family of the victim of this attack and wish the injured a speedy recovery.”