South Korea expressed shock and outrage Monday at the bombing of a bus in Egypt that killed three of its nationals, and injured 14 others.
The blast ripped through a bus, which was carrying 31 South Korean passengers, near an Egyptian resort town bordering Israel on Sunday, killing the Korean tourists and an Egyptian driver.
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.
“We are shocked and enraged at the terrorist bombing on the bus... and strongly condemn the act,” Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.
The tourists were all members of the same church group from the central South Korean county of Jincheon who were on a 12-day trip through Turkey, Egypt and Israel.
“We believe that terrorism can never be justified under any circumstances and such inhumane and unethical acts should be weeded out by all means,” the ministry said.
The South Korean ambassador to Egypt, Kim Young-So, told Seoul's MBN TV station that the bombing appeared to be a suicide attack.
“An Egyptian man in his 20s suddenly boarded the bus and detonated the bomb... it appears to be a suicide bombing by a terrorist,” Kim said.
The foreign ministry said a high-level travel warning had been issued for the Sinai region and the Gulf of Aqaba, while nationals living elsewhere in Egypt were urged to take extra precautions.
A foreign ministry official had previously stated that the advisory amounted to a complete travel ban.
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.