Tourists throng Egypt pyramids after bombing, but future clouded

Excited holidaymakers rode camels and queued to enter a tomb as they snapped pictures of the Great Pyramid. (AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018
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Tourists throng Egypt pyramids after bombing, but future clouded

  • The attack comes as Egypt’s vital tourism sector has begun to recover after years of instability
  • A bombing hit a tourist bus killing four people on Friday

GIZA: Crowds of tourists stared in awe at the towering pyramids of Giza near Cairo on Saturday undaunted by a nearby bomb attack a day earlier that killed holidaymakers from Vietnam.

A roadside bombing ripped through a tourist bus killing three tourists and an Egyptian guide on Friday, as it traveled near the world-famous attraction.

The attack comes as Egypt’s vital tourism sector has begun to recover after years of instability and militant violence that scared visitors away.

“I think terrorism can strike anywhere in the world,” Somand Yang from South Korea told AFP.

“You have to be careful but it is also like luck.” Security forces guarded the entrance to the sprawling site and Yang, 32, said she had no qualms about visiting.

“Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. So I figured it will be even safer today,” she said.

Excited holidaymakers rode camels and queued to enter a tomb as they snapped pictures of the Great Pyramid, the only surviving structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Hawkers followed the tourists, doggedly trying to sell trinkets and souvenirs. Despite the steady flow of visitors, Egyptians working at the site said they were shaken by the attack — and concerned that it could hit their livelihoods.

“I knew the guide who died yesterday,” said Dalia Sadaka, as she accompanied a group of sightseers.

“I completely broke down yesterday, but I had to get to work in the morning,” she said, pointing to her visibly swollen eyes.

Earlier hit hard by a string of bloody attacks and unrest, visitor numbers to Egypt have more recently staged a partial recovery.

In October 2015, a bomb claimed by a local affiliate of Daesh killed all 224 people on board a passenger jet carrying Russian tourists over the Sinai peninsula.

That incident dealt a severe blow to Egypt’s tourism industry, which was still reeling from the turmoil set off by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran leader Hosni Mubarak from power.

The official statistics agency says arrivals reached 8.2 million in 2017, up from 5.3 million the year before.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million came.

“I fear yesterday’s incident may have an impact on our source of income,” said an elderly man who offers camel rides, declining to give his name.

“It is very regretable,” he said. “We were finally happy that tourism started picking up a bit.”


Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

Updated 5 min 31 sec ago
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Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

  • North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh
  • The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai

CAIRO: Two people including a civilian were killed in a suicide bomb attack Thursday targeting security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, medical and security sources said.
The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, the sources told AFP.
One member of the security forces was killed and three others were wounded, while a civilian also died in the bombing.
The armed forces confirmed in a statement one of its soldiers had been killed in the assault, without mentioning the civilian or other casualties.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh.
Last year, Egypt launched a massive offensive mainly with the aim of wiping out the militants in the turbulent region.
Hundreds of militants have been killed along with dozens of soldiers, according to official figures which cannot be verified as Sinai is largely cut off to journalists and independent investigators.