Associated Press

Associated Press

CAIRO

Centuries-old glass and porcelain pieces were smashed to powder, a priceless wooden prayer niche was destroyed and manuscripts were soaked by water spewing from broken pipes when a car bombing wreaked havoc on Cairo’s renowned Islamic Art Museum.

Experts scrambled to try to save thousands of priceless treasures as ceilings crumbled in the 19th-century building, which had just undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation.

The explosions, which targeted police and the main security headquarters, shook the museum in the nearby old Cairo district of Bab el-Khalq, propelling steel and ceiling plaster onto its glass cases and wooden artifacts.

“The museum was totally destroyed and needs to be rebuilt,” Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Mohammed Ibrahim said.

“I am in a shock and speechless. Imagine if an attack struck the Metropolitan, what would happen? This museum is just like the Metropolitan in its significance,” said former museum official Mohammed el-Kilani.

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