A roadside bomb hidden inside a wall near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt detonated as a bus full of Vietnamese tourists passed by on Friday. Two of the tourists were killed and 12 other people were injured, including the Egyptian bus driver and a tour employee.
The Associated Press described the bombing as the first terrorist attack on foreign tourists in almost two years. The attack may have been intended to derail Egypt’s tourist industry, which is beginning to recover after the period of prolonged unrest following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Perhaps of some relevance to the attack, Mubarak was in court on Wednesday to testify at the trial of his successor, Mohamed Morsi, who was in turn overthrown by current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Mubarak testified that militants from Gaza engineered a mass jailbreak in 2011 that released members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood out of Egyptian prisons to foment unrest and conduct murderous attacks. One of the Brotherhood members who escaped from prison in the chaos was Morsi, who has been imprisoned since the 2013 coup and is now on trial for the prison break.
“Militants have targeted foreign visitors in the past, with two German tourists stabbed to death at a hotel in the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada last year,” the BBC recalled.
Egyptian authorities were already bracing for terrorist threats during the New Year’s holiday and the Coptic celebration of Christmas, which is held on January 7.