SINAI | Four people including three believed to be South Korean Christian pilgrims were killed on Sunday by a bomb that tore through their bus near Egypt’s border with Israel in the Sinai peninsula.
The bus was heading to the Taba border crossing after taking the pilgrims to visit St Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, when its front half was engulfed in an explosion.
The bombing, said by the authorities to be most likely the work of terrorist insurgents based in the Sinai, marked a dramatic shift in their current campaign against the Egyptian regime, which to date has targeted the military and police.
Tour companies including those that take thousands of British visitors to Egypt’s Red Sea beaches every year will fear it heralds a return to previous bombing campaigns targeting them. In 2004, 31 people were killed when a bomb, one of three planted at the same time in the peninsula, exploded at the Taba Hilton Hotel less than a mile from the point of Sunday’s attack.
Hundreds of police, soldiers, militants and civilians have been killed in recent months in northern Sinai, particularly since a major counter-insurgency offensive by the army began in September. But while the campaign, led by a militant Islamist group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Supporters of Jerusalem, has moved to the mainland, the group’s statements have said it targets the security forces.
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