Tourists attacked in Giza
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 29, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi to express strong denunciation of the bomb attack on a tourist bus at Al-Mariutiyah St in Giza Governorate on Friday.
The attack is morally despicable and runs counter to all religious and humanitarian values as it targeted innocent civilians and left scores of casualties, he stressed. His Highness the Amir reaffirmed Kuwait’s firm support to the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt in whatever measures it might take to protect its security and stability. He expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured quick recovery.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the Egyptian leader.
The State of Kuwait denounced in strong terms the bomb attack on the tourist bus. Such terrorist attacks, that target civilians and put in peril the safety of innocent people, highlight the need of doubling the international efforts to combat terrorism, an official of the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said this evening. Kuwait renews its firm stance in support of the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt in whatever measures it might take to protect its security and the safety of its brotherly people, the source said in a press release.
The source expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured quick recovery. Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb blast hit their tour bus on Friday less than 4 kms (2.5 miles) from Egypt’s world-famous Giza pyramids, authorities said.
The bombing is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for over a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency revenue, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since the country’s 2011 uprising. No immediate claim of responsibility was reported.
Islamist extremists, including militants linked to Islamic State, are active in Egypt and have targeted foreign visitors in the past. At least nine Vietnamese tourists were wounded, as well as the Egyptian driver, according to official statements.
The tourists were heading to a sound and light show at the pyramids, which they had visited earlier in the day, said Lan Le, 41, who was also aboard 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, where the injured were taken. “I don’t remember anything after.” Egypt’s interior ministry said the bus was hit by an explosion from an improvised device hidden near a wall at around 6:15 pm (1615 GMT). About two hours later, the vehicle could be seen behind a police cordon with one of its sides badly damaged and the windows blown out, a Reuters reporter said.
Dozens of police, military and firefighters were at the site, on a narrow side street close to the ring road, where traffic was moving normally. Shortly afterward, workers brought a pick-up truck to tow the bus away. An investigator at the scene said the device had likely been planted near the wall.
The interior ministry confirmed the death of two of the tourists, and the state prosecutor’s office later said a third had died. In total, 14 Vietnamese tourists had been travelling on the bus, it said. Vietnam called on Egypt to find those behind the attack. “Vietnam is extremely angered by and strongly condemns this act of terrorism that killed and injured innocent Vietnamese people,” foreign ministry spokeswoman, Le Thi Thu Hang, said in a statement. “Vietnam requests that Egypt promptly launch an investigation into the case and track down those responsible.” Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, told media from Al Haram Hospital that the bus had taken an unexpected route.
“The bus deviated from the route secured by the security forces,” Madbouly told Extra News channel, an assertion also made by the owner of the company that organised the bus tour. “We have been in contact with the embassy of Vietnam to contain the impact of the incident, and what is important now is to take care of the injured,” the prime minister said.
The bus driver later told media he had not deviated from the route. Egypt’s army and police launched a major campaign against militant groups in February, targeting the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the border with Libya.
The government says fighting Islamist militants is a priority as it works to restore stability after the years of turmoil that followed the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011. Those events and the bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after it took off from Sharm el Sheikh in 2015 caused tourist numbers to plunge.
The last deadly attack on foreign tourists in Egypt was in July 2017, when two Germans were stabbed to death in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. Egyptian security forces have killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday, a day after the bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people.
The ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Friday’s attack, but said its forces killed 30 people during raids on their hideouts in Giza where it said “terrorist elements” were planning a series of attacks targeting state institutions and the tourism industry.
Security forces also killed 10 suspected militants in North Sinai, where the country is fighting an insurgency led by Islamic State. State news agency MENA said that the suspects were killed in a gun battle.
The ministry did not give any details about the suspects’ identity or whether there had been any casualties or injuries among the security forces. The statement said the three raids took place simultaneously. The ministry published photos of bloodied bodies with their faces concealed and assault rifles and shotguns lying on the floor beside them. The Vatican says Pope Francis is praying for the victims of a roadside bomb that hit a tourist bus in Egypt.