Egyptian Tourist Bus Blast on Sunday Spreads Fear

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An Egyptian tourist bus blast has spread fear among the region. The authorities said 14 people have died and several people have been  injured in the bomb blast on Sunday, February 16, in Taba, Egypt.  Taba is a tourist resort town in Egypt located north of Sinai Peninsula and near Israel.  According to Brig. General Allaa Mahmoud, there were more than 30 South Korean tourists on the blasted bus.  The tourists were visiting the Sinai Peninsula, particularly the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Catherine’s.  The traveler bus was waiting near the border of Israel.  The tourists were heading to Israel when the bomb striked the bus.  After the blast, people reportedly remain in fear of Sinai militant strikes on travelers.

The Egyptian tourist bus blast on Sunday has raised anxiety among people about the area being continuously targeted by the radicals.  In Sunday’s blast, according to the healthy ministry officials, four people who died in the blast were the Egyptian vehicle driver, and three South Korean sightseers.  The Israeli Police spokesman, Mickey Rosenfeld said that emergency vehicles and ambulances were sent-out for assistance to the site of the explosion.  Moreover, Hesham Zaazo, the Eyptian Tourism Minister, explained that they are doing everything possible to secure the safety of tourists in Egypt.  He expressed his sentiments about the incident as “tragic” and he is “angry” by the strike and sad how it is damaging the Egyptian tourism.  The Egyptian officials said that the count of injured tourists at the Taba blast is 33.  The head of ambulance services, Khaled Abu Hashem, reported three extremely burnt body remains were found at the site of the blast.  Currently, no group has declared their accountability of the strike.  However, the suspects are that Sinai militants are responsible for the Sunday bus explosion.

In Seoul, South Korea, the ministry said the S. Korean tourists on the bus were part of Jincheon Church from the Province of Choongbuk.  They are guided by a S. Korean travel guide on the trip.  Amongst the tourists, two died and nine of them are wounded.

The police arrived at the scene after the attack, and have said that the blast source is currently not evident.  The explosion was a “car bomb” or was a remote operated blast.  Around ten years ago, at a luxury resort in Taba, Egypt, a blast killed around 34 tourists and less than half of them were Israelis.  Around three soldiers died in a January 2014 explosion, and 10 soldiers were killed in a November 2013 car blast.

Additionally, the 2005 Sharm-el-Sheikh suicide bomb blast, at the Taba hotel blast of 2004, and the Red Sea blast of Dahab in 2006, all together have killed more than 120 people.  The strikes in Sinai have killed tourists mostly, and the strikes in the area sporadically target the military.

The insurgencies in Egypt resurfaced after the 2011 revolution that removed the former President Hosni Mubarak.  Mubarak suppressed the militants and the Muslim Brotherhood for years.  After Morsi emerged as the democratically elected President of Egypt, the militant groups became powerful and the resurgence increased around the country.  The radical groups desire to establish a different form of government in Sinai Peninsula.

In the July coup, Morsi was overthrown by the Egyptian military.  This incident sparked the militants to become active once again as they were hunted by the military.  The Egyptian tourist bus blast on Sunday spreads fear among people and raises concern about the security of travelers to that area.  The tourism ministry is also concerned about the injury that is done to the industry by these strikes.

By Iqra Amjad


Daily News
Bangkok Post

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