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

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.


Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of coronavirus

Updated 32 min 37 sec ago

Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of coronavirus

  • Egypt will ban any gatherings and public iftars

CAIRO: Egypt will ban any public religious gatherings during the holy Muslim fasting month Ramadan starting in around two weeks to counter the spread of the new coronavirus, a government statement said on Tuesday.
Muslims usually break the fast at sunset together with their families, go to the mosque to pray and spend maximum time with relatives.
But with health experts recommending social distancing measures during the global coronavirus crisis, Egypt will ban any gatherings and public iftars, or fast-breaking meals, as well as collective social activities, the ministry of Islamic endowments said in a statement.
Typically mass iftars are held for poor people.
The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month in mosques to pray and meditate, the ministry said.
Egypt has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with more than 250 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Egypt is home to some 100 million people and also the seat of the Al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.
Ramadan will start around April 23 depending on the sighting of the moon marking the start of the month.
Egypt already last month ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers. Prayer calls are broadcast via loudspeakers.