Egyptian forces kill 40 suspected militants after tourist bus bombed

Militants reportedly planned attacks against Egypt’s security forces, tourism and Christian places of worship. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 December 2018
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Egyptian forces kill 40 suspected militants after tourist bus bombed

  • Large quantities of weapons and explosives were found during the raids
  • Militants reportedly planned attacks against Egypt’s security forces, tourism and Christian places of worship

CAIRO: Egypt’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday that security forces killed 40 militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, a day after a bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people.
Large quantities of weapons and explosives were found during the raids, the state news agency said.
Militants reportedly planned attacks against Egypt’s security forces, tourism and Christian places of worship.
On Friday, a roadside bomb hit a tourist bus in an area near the Giza Pyramids, killing two Vietnamese tourists and wounding 12 others.
The bombing, less than 4 km from the pyramids, on the outskirts of Cairo, is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for more than a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since the country’s 2011 uprising.
The bus was traveling in the Marioutiyah area near the pyramids when the crude roadside bomb, concealed by a wall, went off. The wounded included 10 Vietnamese tourists. The other two wounded were the Egyptian bus driver and the guide.
The ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Friday’s attack, but said its forces killed 30 people during raids on their hideouts in Giza where it said “terrorist elements” were planning a series of attacks targeting state institutions and the tourism industry.
Security forces also killed 10 suspected militants in North Sinai, where the country is fighting an insurgency led by Daesh.
State news agency MENA said that the suspects were killed in a gunbattle.
The ministry did not give any details about the suspects’ identity or whether there had been any casualties or injuries among the security forces. The statement said the three raids took place simultaneously.
Events such as the bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after it took off from Sharm el Sheikh in 2015, killing all 224 people on board, caused tourist numbers to Egypt to plunge.
There are still no direct flights from major tourist markets such as Britain and Russia to the country’s biggest Red Sea resort, Sharm el Sheikh, since that attack.
The government says fighting extremist militants is a priority as it works to restore stability after the years of turmoil that followed the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011.
Egypt’s military and police launched a major campaign against militant groups in February, targeting the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the border with Libya.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.