Skip to main content

Tourist bus explosion in Egypt kills 4, wounds 14

By Steve Almasy and Yousuf Basil, CNN
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem claims responsibility for the attack
  • Egyptian official calls the blast a "terrorist attack"
  • The bus driver was among the four people killed, state TV reports
  • Bus was carrying 33 tourists from South Korea who had visited a monastery

(CNN) -- At least four people died and 14 were wounded Sunday by an explosion on a tourist bus in the Egyptian resort town of Taba, authorities said.

Brig. Gen. Alaa Mahmoud said 33 tourists from South Korea were on the bus and had visited the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine's, in the Sinai Peninsula. The bus was headed to Israel and was waiting in line near a border crossing, he said.

According to state-run media, Health Ministry officials said three tourists and the bus driver, who was from Egypt, were killed.

The jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem posted a statement on the radical Islamist website Hanein claiming responsibility for the bombing.

Israeli police dispatched ambulances and patrol cars to the border with Egypt to help if needed, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN.

Security cam shows Egypt bus explosion

Egypt's Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou said the Egyptian government had taken the "utmost measures" to protect tourists in the country.

"I'm extremely enraged because of this terrorist attack and this tragic incident," he told CNN by phone as he was traveling to the bombing site.

The Sinai region has seen Islamist militants become more active in recent years.

In January, three soldiers were killed when armed men attacked their bus. And in November, a car bomb killed 10 soldiers.

The Egyptian revolution that toppled strongman President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 brought a resurgence of Islamists, whom his military regime had repressed for decades. This included relatively moderate factions like the Muslim Brotherhood, which swept into power when Mohamed Morsy became president in Egypt's first democratic elections.

But it also included extremists, some who have been inspired by al Qaeda. In the Sinai Peninsula, they have called for the establishment of an Islamist caliphate. The Egyptian military began cracking down on them again.

In July, when the military ousted Morsy in a coup, Islamist extremists in the Sinai saw it as an attack against Islam and stepped up their assaults, particularly against soldiers and military installations.

Sunday's targeting of tourists marks a new threshold in Egyptian terror, at least in recent years.

Taba is in the northeastern Sinai Peninsula, just a few miles from Israel. It was also the scene of a triple bombing in 2004, when 34 people were killed at hotels that were attacked.

The explosion happened so close to the border that a security camera on the Israeli side caught it on tape. Israeli TV network Channel 2, a CNN affiliate, showed the video, which captures the explosion and its initial white smoke on the side of the frame. A piece of debris flies high into the air, then descends slowly to the ground.

Two blasts rock bridge in Cairo

CNN's Sara Sirgany, Hamdi Alkhshali, Saad Abedine and Ben Brumfield and journalist Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0241 GMT (1041 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0930 GMT (1730 HKT)
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT