Suspected jihadists detonated a roadside bomb on Sunday near the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, damaging a tour bus and injuring over a dozen tourists, many of them hailing from South Africa. Egyptian security forces responded with raids that killed 12 suspected Islamist militants.
Terrorists detonated the bomb, described as a crude device packed with nails and bits of scrap metal to serve as shrapnel, near the fence surrounding a museum under construction. Pictures taken at the scene showed the bus with shattered windows and glass shards filling the interior.
A Catholic parish in South Africa reportedly chartered the bus, whose members were on a “pilgrimage and tour of Egypt.” A priest from the parish was among the injured. Authorities did not describe any of the injuries as critical.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry released a statement on Monday saying security forces killed 12 suspected Islamist militants in two raids conducted in the suburbs of Cairo. The militants were said to be members of Hasm, a group allied with the international Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed in Egypt after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Egyptian security officials said Hasm has been planning to execute a series of terrorist attacks designed to create an “atmosphere of chaos.”
The Interior Ministry did not state if the militants killed in the two shoot-outs with security forces had concrete links to the bus bombing. As of Monday morning, no terrorist organization had made a formal claim of responsibility.
The Egyptian government is obviously concerned by terrorist threats to the vital tourism industry. The tourism ministry stated the bombing caused only three “light injuries” and the South African visitors were given the tour they desired, with an escort by ministry officials.