TEL AVIV – The Islamic State is claiming responsibility for an attack Thursday on a hotel in Cairo and a nearby bus waiting to pick up a tour group consisting of Israeli Arabs.
The IS-linked Amaq News Agency posted a news alert saying the global terrorist group was behind the attack in an operation “led by Allah and fulfilling the call made by the Caliph to target the Jews everywhere.” Amaq is often used by IS to take responsibility for attacks.
The agency was referring to an audio message released on the Internet last month in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-declared Islamic State, threatened to turn Israel into a “graveyard.”
Continued the Amaq report, translated from Arabic into English by Breitbart Jerusalem:
A military cell of soldiers of the caliphate succeeded to reach the bus that carried Jews. Using light weapons, in the street of Al Ahra in Giza, Cairo, the operation killed and injured among the Jews and the security of the hotel nearby. The gunmen who carried out the attack got back to their original locations and let the Jews know that we are getting closer to them every day.
Despite the claim, there were no reports of injuries among the Israelis staying at the hotel. Also, the tour group consisted of Israeli Arabs and not Jewish Israelis.
The shooting targeted the three Pyramids Hotel located on the main road leading to the Giza pyramids.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry downplayed the attack, saying at first that the assault was targeting security forces guarding the hotel and not the Israelis staying at the establishment.
Egyptian officials also claimed the attack was carried out by masked youths throwing fireworks and firing rubber bullets at the empty tour bus.
The Times of Israel, however, reported the attack was “more intense than the Egyptian authorities claimed,” citing an Israeli Arab tourist who witnessed the event.
The Times of Israel reported:
The first thing they fired was flares, and then they started firing at the bus. Later they started firing birdshot at the hotel and tried to throw Molotov cocktails at the bus,” said Jaber Jabarin, one of the Israelis staying at the hotel, who witnessed the attack.
After throwing Molotov cocktails, Jabarin said the attackers “started firing at the hotel with live bullets.” He described heavy, continuous gunfire.
In Jerusalem, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alon Lavi confirmed the bus that was hit was in use by a group of visiting Arab Israelis, but said no one was inside the bus at the time of the incident, and that no Israelis were hurt. He said Israel had been briefed on the incident by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
With additional reporting by Ali Waked.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.