Subscribe to SIAWI content updates by Email
Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Egypt: bomb attack on tourist bus near Giza pyramids kills at least four (...)

Egypt: bomb attack on tourist bus near Giza pyramids kills at least four people

Saturday 29 December 2018, by siawi3


Egypt: bomb attack on tourist bus near Giza pyramids kills at least four people

Egyptian officials say roadside bomb exploded near bus carrying Vietnamese tourists

Adham Youssef
in Cairo

Sat 29 Dec 2018 11.09 GMT
First published on Fri 28 Dec 2018 18.02 GMT

Security personnel cordon off the damaged bus following the bomb attack in Egypt near the Giza pyramids. Photograph: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images

At least four people have been killed and another 10 injured after a roadside bomb exploded near a bus carrying Vietnamese tourists close to the pyramids in Giza.

Three of the dead were Vietnamese and one was an Egyptian tour guide.

An Egyptian security source told the Guardian the bus had 16 people onboard and an IED exploded as it approached. Reuters reported that the device was hidden near a wall on Marioutiya Street on the Cairo outskirts.

Police and ambulances attended the scene, and the injured were transferred to nearby hospitals.

The tourists were heading to a show at the pyramids, which they had visited earlier in the day, said Lan Le, 41, who was onboard the bus but unhurt.

“We were going to the sound and light show and then suddenly we heard a bomb. It was terrible, people screaming,” she told Reuters, speaking at Al-Haram hospital. “I don’t remember anything after.”

Ahmed Samy, a tuk-tuk driver, said he saw the bus after the blast and locals and drivers were helping the injured to get out. “One of the passengers was dead and was covered in blood,” he said.

The Egyptian prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, visited the injured at Al-Haram hospital. He told reporters that the bus had not followed the path it was supposed to take, where it would have been secured by the police.

Reuters said that the Egyptian driver of the bus later told local media he had not deviated from the route.

Egyptian prosecutors said they had launched an urgent investigation “to arrest the perpetrators”.

Tourism has been one of the main drivers of Egypt’s struggling economy, contributing around 375bn Egyptian pounds (£16bn), or 11% of GDP, in 2017, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The country has intensified efforts to woo tourists after a sharp decline in numbers following the political turmoil linked to the 2011 revolution. Tourism to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, which had been spared the worst of the political upheaval, also fell dramatically following an explosion onboard a Russian plane over the Sinai peninsula on 31 October from Sharm el-Sheikh international airport. The explosion claimed the lives of all 217 passengers and seven crew members.

Targeted campaigns promoting tourism have been going hand in hand with huge state-sponsored international conferences designed to promote youth empowerment, technology and foreign investment.

No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack. The most active group has been Islamic State, which has been operating mainly in North Sinai. An Isis-linked group claimed responsibility for the explosion on the Russian plane.

Isis also claimed responsibility for a January 2016 attack in Hurghada where two militants entered a hotel and stabbed three tourists. The Swede and two Austrians survived.

In February 2014, the militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which later pledged allegiance to Isis, claimed a bomb attack that ripped through a tourist bus on the Egyptian side of the Taba border crossing with Israel, killing four and injuring about 30 passengers.

Before the Russian plane explosion, the deadliest attack to target tourists took place in Luxor in 1997 when more than 60 people, the vast majority foreign visitors, were murdered by militants armed with guns and knives.



Egypt kills 40 ‘terrorists’ in crackdown after Giza attack

On December 29, 201812:19 pm

Egyptian police killed 40 alleged “terrorists” in a crackdown on Saturday after a roadside bomb hit a tour bus claiming the lives of three Vietnamese holidaymakers and an Egyptian guide.

Photo: President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

The suspects were killed in separate raids in the Giza governorate, home to Egypt’s famed pyramids and the scene of Friday’s deadly bombing, and in the restive Sinai Peninsula, the interior ministry said.
Two raids in the Giza governorate killed 30 “terrorists”, while the remaining 10 were killed in the North Sinai, the ministry said in a statement. It said authorities acted after receiving information the suspects were preparing a spate of attacks against state and tourist institutions and churches.

“Information was received by the national security that a group of terrorists were planning to carry out a series of aggressive attacks targeting state institutions, particularly economic ones, as well as tourism, armed forces, police and Christian places of worship,” the statement said.

Early on Friday evening, a roadside bomb hit a tour bus in the Al-Haram district near the Giza pyramids, killing the three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide, officials said.
A statement from the public prosecutor’s office said 11 other tourists from Vietnam and an Egyptian bus driver were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, the first attack to target tourists since 2017.

Saigon Tourist, the tour company that organised the trip, said the Vietnamese tourists were “on their way to a restaurant for dinner” when the bomb exploded. Company officials were heading to Cairo on Saturday and plans were made to allow some relatives of the victims to also fly to Egypt. One of those heading to Cairo was Nguyen Nguyen Vu whose sister Nguyen Thuy Quynh, 56, died in the bombing, while her husband, Le Duc Minh, was wounded. The couple, both aged 56, were in the seafood business and holidaying in Egypt when the tragedy occurred, Quynh’s younger brother said. “We were all very shocked… My sister and her husband travel quite a lot and they are quite experienced in travelling abroad. Their hobby is travelling,” Vu told AFP. – ‘Bring my sister home’ – He said he was applying for a visa for Egypt and hoped to travel on Saturday. “Our wish is that we could bring my sister back home, and I hope that I can settle things well in the next 2-3 days.”

Friday’s deadly bombing was the latest blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry, which has been reeling from turmoil set off by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran president Hosni Mubarak from power.
Egypt has been seeking to lure tourists back by touting new archaeological discoveries and bolstering security around archaeological sites and in airports. It is also planning to open a major museum near the Giza pyramids — the only surviving structures of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

In July 2017, two German tourists were stabbed to death by a suspected jihadist at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. In October 2015, a bomb claimed by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group killed 224 people on board a passenger jet carrying Russian tourists home from the Sinai peninsula.

– Fragile security –

While tourism has picked up since 2011, the 8.2 million people who visited Egypt in 2017 are still a far cry from the 14.7 million who visited in the year before the uprising.

The blast and the subsequent police raids come as Egypt battles a persistent jihadist insurgency in the North Sinai, which surged after the 2013 overthrow by the army of Mubarak’s Islamist successor Mohamed Morsi. Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for previous attacks, including against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority who make up about 10 percent of the population.

The army launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid the Sinai of jihadists after an attack on a mosque in the north of the peninsula killed more than 300 people. The army says that hundreds of suspected jihadists have been killed since the campaign was launched.