Tourists killed in Sinai bombing
Foreigners wait to cross to Egypt at the Israeli side of the Taba crossing near the Red Sea resort of Eilat, Sunday, Feb 16, 2014. An explosion ripped through a tourist bus Sunday near a border crossing between Egypt and Israel, killing at least three South Koreans and an Egyptian driver in an attack that stoked fears Sinai militants have resumed a bloody campaign against tourists. The targeting of foreign tourists was the first in the area in nearly a decade. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
CAIRO — An explosion tore through a bus filled with South Korean sightseers in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday, killing at least four people and raising fears that Islamic militants have renewed a bloody campaign to wreck Egypt’s tourism industry.
The bombing near the tip of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba was the first attack against tourists in Sinai in nearly a decade. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the blast bore the hallmarks of attacks blamed on the al-Qaida-linked militant groups that have been battling government forces in Sinai’s restive north for years.
At least three South Korean tourists were killed and 12 seriously wounded, according to Egyptian security officials. The Egyptian bus driver was also among the dead, the officials said.
“I am deeply saddened by the incident,” Tourism Minister Hesham Zazou told state TV. The Egyptian presidency called the attack a “despicable act of cowardice” and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.
Egypt’s vital tourism sector, which normally accounts for about 11 percent of the economy and 20 percent of all foreign currency revenue, has been badly hit by the deadly turmoil that has roiled the country since the 2011 revolt that overthrew ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian security officials said they believe the blast was caused by either a car bomb or a roadside bomb that was detonated by remote control. Rescue workers found the remains of four and perhaps five people, according to Khaled Abu Hashem, the head of ambulance services in southern Sinai.