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Blast on tourist bus in Egypt kills 4

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack which killed four South Koreans and an Egyptian driver

Published: Updated:

A blast ripped through a bus near an Egyptian resort town bordering Israel on Sunday, killing four South Koreans and an Egyptian driver, security officials said.

The source of the explosion was not clear, but the officials believe it was either a car bomb or a roadside bomb that was detonated by remote control, The Associated Press reported.

Almost all 33 passengers on the bus were wounded by the explosion and were being treated in hospitals in Egypt and across the border in the Israeli port city of Eilat, the officials said.

A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, which is responsible for border security, told Agence France-Presse that the Taba crossing had been closed in the wake of the blast.

“The event is happening on the Egyptian side, and we are making our preparations,” an Israeli police spokesman said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamist militants based in the largely lawless Sinai have stepped up attacks on security forces since President Mohammed Mursi’s downfall in July, killing hundreds.

On Feb. 11, Egyptian security officials said suspected al-Qaeda-inspired militants have blown up a natural gas pipeline in the restive Sinai Peninsula, while gunmen shot dead a policeman in the Suez canal city of Ismailia.

A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for several such bombings.

Since Jan. 23, 18 policemen have been killed in militant attacks, according to an AFP tally based on reports by security officials.

Meanwhile, between 2004 and 2006, scores of Egyptians and foreign tourists were killed in a spate of bombings in resorts in south Sinai.

In 1997, Islamist militants massacred dozens of tourists in a pharaonic temple in the southern city of Luxor.

The unrest has severely hit tourism, a vital earner in Egypt, which has been targeted sporadically by militants over the past two decades.

(With Reuters, Associated Press and AFP)