Reuters – A suicide bomber blew himself up in the parking lot of Karnak temple in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor on Wednesday, security sources and witnesses said, in an escalation of recent attacks on tourist sites.

No group immediately claimed responsibility but Islamist militants bent on toppling the Cairo government have killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the past, usually at checkpoints and barracks or police stations.

A health ministry spokesman said four Egyptians were wounded. Security sources said casualties included bazaar shop owners and police.

They said three armed men tried to storm a barricade that leads to the Karnak temple site. Two men left the car and engaged in gunfire with police, who killed them. The third man in the car managed to overcome the barricade and blew himself up.

Tourism is one of the top sources of income and foreign currency earnings for the Arab world's most populous country.

Gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead two members of Egypt's tourism and antiquities police force on a road near the Giza pyramids last week.