Friday, December 28, 2018

Deadly Blast Hits Tour Bus Near Giza Pyramids in Egypt
BBC World Service

A roadside blast has killed four people - three Vietnamese tourists and a local tour guide - and injured 12 others on a bus near the Giza pyramids in Egypt, officials say.

A bomb hidden beside a wall went off as the bus carrying 14 Vietnamese tourists was passing.

Two people were critically wounded, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said.

The bus hit the device after it went off its planned route without alerting security forces, Mr Madbouly added.

All of the injured are Vietnamese tourists apart from the bus driver, who is Egyptian.

There were no immediate reports of any group saying it was behind the attack, but Islamist militants have targeted tourists in the past.

What is Egypt like?

Two German tourists were stabbed to death at a hotel in the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada last year.

Security is already tight in Egypt, with the tourist season at its height and the country's main Christian minority, the Copts, preparing to celebrate Orthodox Christmas on 7 January.

The bomb went off at about 18:15 (16:45 GMT) on Maryoutiya Street in Giza's Haram district, the interior ministry says.

Security forces rushed to the scene in response and police are investigating.

The injured were taken to the nearby Haram hospital, Reuters news agency reports.

"We have been in contact with the embassy of Vietnam to contain the impact of the incident, and what is important now is to take care of the injured," Prime Minister Madbouly was quoted as saying.

How has tourism fared in Egypt in recent years?

Tourism is a mainstay of the economy. It peaked in 2010, when the country saw more than 14 million visitors, but fell sharply after the turmoil of the Arab Spring the following year.

Worse was to come after militants bombed a Russian passenger jet in 2015 as it left Sharm el Sheikh, killing 224 people.

The following year just 5.3 million tourists visited, according to the World Bank.

However, the sector has since recovered and 8.3 million people visited in 2017, the Financial Times reports.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told visiting Vietnamese leaders in May that he was keen to revive Vietnamese tourism in his country, according to Egypt Today.

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