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
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT