Egypt: Roadside explosion targets a tourist bus near Giza pyramids, leaves 16 injured
The Giza pyramids in Egypt are a major Travel destination and the sudden explosion from a roadside device left 16 people injured. Three of the injured had to be hospitalized. They were occupants of the bus and some of them were from South Africa. The incident happened near the Grand Egyptian Museum and the device was near the fence of the museum. No agency has taken responsibility for the attack but there have been instances in the past when Islamist militants have targeted and attacked tourists in Egypt.
A witness indicated about hearing a “very loud explosion.” He was nearby and the blast was close to the capital Cairo. There were 28 passengers on the bus as revealed by the minister of tourism of Egypt.
BBC reports that a local TV news channel said seven South African tourists and 10 Egyptian civilians were injured. In December, there was a similar case of a roadside bomb hitting a bus. In that incident, three Vietnamese tourists and a local tour guide lost their lives. Fortunately, in the present case, there are no fatalities.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 19, 2019
Tourism is key to Egypt’s economy
Egypt has many attractions to woo tourists and tourism is key to the country’s economy. The hotels are geared up to accommodate foreigners and help to generate a wide range of employment opportunities in the hotels as well as outside.
There are hotel workers, tourist guides, taxi drivers and thousands of stalls with unique showpieces that beckon the tourists. All of them depend on tourism for their livelihood. Apart from existing tourist spots, the Grand Egyptian Museum is under construction and could be open to the public in 2020.
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 19, 2019
BBC reports that the tourism industry has already suffered setbacks with a sharp drop in visitor numbers and is trying to recover lost ground.
First, it was the turmoil of the Arab Spring in 2011. Then there was the bombing of a Russian passenger jet in 2015, in which 224 people died. Such situations do not portend well for tourism because no one would opt for a holiday in a country where violence and unrest could break out.
An official of the museum has confirmed that the blast did not damage the museum or any of its artifacts. Its construction began in 2002 and it will cost nearly $1 billion. It is a prestige project for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and he plans to invite dignitaries from across the globe for the opening ceremony. He has cemented his hold on power last month and will remain in power until 2030. This attack was the second one on tourists in Giza within a period of six months.
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It appears to be the handiwork of armed militants who are opposed to the President and seek to undermine his authority. No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack but the Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate had claimed involvement in the previous one.