A firebomb attack in Cairo has killed 16 people and wounded three others, authorities said.

Police are looking for two young men who carried out the attack in the Agouza district, state news agency MENA reported.

The Ministry of Interior, in a statement posted on its Facebook page, cited an unnamed official with its Security Information Centre who said a preliminary investigation showed the attack happened after a dispute, and Molotov cocktails were then thrown at the entrance to a business reported to be a restaurant.

Online video posted by newspaper Youm 7 showed thick black smoke pouring through the doorway of the El Sayad restaurant as onlookers milled outside unable to help.

Flames were burning the inside of the building and charring the facade.

The restaurant was on the ground floor of an apartment building.

The two young men being hunted are believed to have carried out the attack because they were previously not allowed to enter the restaurant.

The El Sayad is among Egypt’s small eateries that skirt taboos around drinking in a predominantly Muslim country by serving food and alcohol throughout the day, then effectively turning into a nightclub until the early morning hours.

While alcohol is legal in Egypt, most restaurants and clubs do not have liquor licences.

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