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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

Egypt kills 40 suspected militants after tour bus bombed in Giza

Raids conducted in Sinai and Giza as UAE and Arab Parliament condemn attack

The UAE yesterday condemned the terrorist bomb attack on a tourist bus on Friday near the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, in which four civilians were killed and 11 wounded.

The four killed in Friday evening’s explosion were three Vietnamese passengers and their Egyptian guide.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation expressed the UAE’s condolences and solace to the government and people of Egypt, as well as the families of those killed. The ministry wished those wounded a quick recovery.

Egypt’s security forces have killed 40 militants in three operations, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Thirty terrorists were killed in two raids in the Giza governorate, while the remaining 10 were killed in the restive North Sinai.

“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 ministry said.

Police found a large number of weapons, ammunition and bomb-making material, it said.

Yesterday the Arab Parliament also released a statement condemning the attack and repeating its support for Egypt and the fight against terrorism.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Giza bombing but Egypt has been battling an extremist insurgency in North Sinai, where security forces launched an operation in February to wipe out a local branch of ISIS.

The bomb was hidden near a wall along Mariyutiya Street in Al Haram near the Giza Pyramids and blew up as the bus passed, the public prosecutor’s office said

It said the 11 wounded were 10 Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian bus driver.

Armed personnel quickly cordoned off the area. The white bus had its windows shattered and was surrounded by soot-covered debris.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli visited the injured in hospital and urged against “amplifying” the incident because “no country in the world can guarantee that it’s 100 per cent safe”.

“It’s possible at times that an individual incident takes place here or there,” Mr Madbouli said. “We have to know that it’s possible that it would be repeated in the future.”

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,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

“Vietnam requests that Egypt promptly launch an investigation into the case and track down those responsible.”

The US also attacked the killing of innocent people.

“We stand with all Egyptians in the fight against terrorism and support the Egyptian government in bringing the perpetrators of this attack to justice,” US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said.

Egypt’s tourism has been struggling to recover from terror attacks and domestic instability that has hit the country in recent years.

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The bombing in Giza was the first attack on tourists by suspected terrorists since two German tourists were stabbed to death at the Egyptian Red Sea beach resort of Hurgada in July last year.

In October 2015, a bombing claimed by the local ISIS affiliate killed 224 people aboard a passenger jet carrying Russian tourists over the Sinai peninsula.

That incident dealt a severe blow to the country’s tourism, which was still reeling from the turmoil set off by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran leader Hosni Mubarak from power.

Egypt has been seeking to lure tourists back and spur the lucrative sector by promoting new archaeological discoveries and bolstering security around digs and airports.

Tourism has slowly started to pick up. The official statistics agency says tourists arrivals in Egypt last year reached 8.2 million, up from 5.3 million the year before.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when more than 14 million visitors flocked see the country’s sites.

The pyramids of Giza are the only surviving structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world and a major tourist draw.

Updated: December 29, 2018 08:41 PM

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