Bomb strikes tourist bus near Giza Pyramids

CAIRO (AP) — A roadside bomb hit a tourist bus on Friday
near the Giza Pyramids, killing three Vietnamese and their Egyptian guide,
officials said.

The bus was traveling in the Marioutiyah area near the
pyramids when the crude roadside bomb, concealed by a wall, went off, Egypt’s
chief prosecutor Nabil Sadeq said in a statement. The blast wounded 11 other
Vietnamese tourists as well as the Egyptian driver.

The bus was carrying a total of 15 Vietnamese tourists,
according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It said that 10 were
seriously injured.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Tran Thanh Cong visited the
scene of the attack and Al Haram Hospital, where the victims were being
treated, the ministry said.

Egypt has battled Islamic militants for years in the Sinai
Peninsula in an insurgency that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland,
hitting minority Christians or tourists. However, this is the first attack to
target foreign tourists in almost two years.

The attack takes place as Egypt’s vital tourism industry is
showing signs of recovery after years in the doldrums because of the political
turmoil and violence that followed a 2011 uprising that toppled former leader
Hosni Mubarak.

It will likely prompt authorities to further tighten
security around churches and associated facilities ahead of the New Year’s Eve
celebrations and next month’s Christmas celebrations of the Coptic Orthodox
Church, the dominant denomination among Egypt’s estimated 10 million
Christians.

Over the past two years, militant attacks against Christians
in Egypt — usually targeting churches or buses carrying pilgrims to remote
desert monasteries — have killed over a hundred people.

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