No tourists were killed or hurt in the late morning attack.
The attack was the second this month at or near a major tourist attraction in Egypt.
It marks an escalation and a shift in tactics in a campaign of violence waged by Islamic militants against the government of president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with the extremists shifting from their focus on hitting security forces to targeting Egypt’s vital tourism industry.
Sustained attacks threaten to wreck the industry once more, just as it was beginning to recover from Egypt’s turmoil since 2011. On June 3, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside the famed Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, killing two police officers.
Shortly after yesterday’s explosion, police exchanged fire with and killed two suspected Islamic militants who had arrived at the sprawling, Nile-side temple together with the suicide bomber, the security officials said. Four people, including two policemen, were wounded in the exchange, according to the Health Ministry in Cairo.
The governor of Luxor, Mohammed Sayed Badr, said no tourists were hurt in the bombing outside the famed Luxor site. He said the attack was “an attempt to break into the temple of Karnak”.
“They didn’t make it in,” he added of the attackers.
Badr said the nationalities of the three men have yet to be determined.
There were only a handful of tourists and Egyptians inside the temple at the time of the attack.