Cairo Explosion: Large Blast Hits Near Egypt Airport, Reports Say

The outskirts of Cairo International Airport have reportedly been rocked by an explosion that lit up the Egyptian capital's sky and caused emergency services to rush toward the scene.

Social media users quickly posted photos showing what appeared to be smoke and fire rising from the vicinity of the airport. A number of local tweets poured in with users claiming to have heard a loud explosion followed by the sounds of ambulances. Egypt's Marsd News reported that the explosion occurred in the airport's main fuel tank, accounting for the size and intensity of the blast, but it appears the blast may have actually occurred at a fuel depot just outside the airport.

Saudi-based outlet Al Arabiya cited the Egyptian Ministry of Aviation as saying that flight traffic was unaffected and said that state television reported a civil defense team had brought the fire under control. Early reports suggested that air traffic had been suspended.

"The explosion, which took place just outside of Cairo airport, although near it, caused navigation to be stopped at the airport, according to sources, as a precautionary act, and the airport will open its gates shortly," Egyptian member of parliament Mustafa Bakri wrote on Twitter

"Egypt is safe and those who are spreading falsehoods are groups of liars, all the information confirms that the explosion occurred in a fuel tank near the area, the airport is secure and the traffic has resumed," he later added.

A number of social media users initially expressed fear that the explosion was caused by an attack. The country has been targeted by militant groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State (ISIS) in recent years, especially after the 2013 ouster of short-lived Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who himself replaced longtime leader President Hosni Mubarak a year after the January 2011 revolution.

In February 2015, authorities discovered bombs planted at the Cairo International Airport on the same day that a blast killed a man in Egypt's second city of Alexandria. In October 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian Metrojet flight that departed from the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh. Months later, in March 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly airport bombing in Brussels.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Editor's Pick